A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things review

A partial unpicking of the puzzle that is Tool’s frontman

Cover art of A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things

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Sitting somewhere between biography and autobiography, Jensen’s somewhat unusual approach with A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things – florid, portentous prose in a thirdperson narrative, peppered with direct passages from Keenan himself – takes us deep into the singer’s childhood and formative years, yet is disarmingly light on chunks of his musical career. And while it’s unsurprising that the Tool frontman’s contrariness and mystique extends to the printed page, a greater focus on Tool might have been a more fan-pleasing strategy.

But of course, this is the point. The weightings are Keenan’s, and if the word count on wine outstrips that of Tool’s Lateralus album byafactor of 20, then so be it. There’s much of interest: an early Kiss fixation; sporting intensity; a stint in the military; thoughts from Tom Morello; sprawling explorations of Keenan’s personal credos. A greater authorial distance from its subject might have lent more gravity, but likely less access and insight. It’s a toss-up.

Tim Batcup

Tim Batcup is a writer for Classic Rock magazine and Prog magazine. He's also the owner of Cover To Cover, Swansea's only independent bookshop, and a director of Storyopolis, a free children’s literacy project based at the Volcano Theatre, Swansea. He likes music, books and Crass.