Serj Tankian, "Imperfect Harmonies"
When Serj Tankian brings his voice and composing skills to a project, you know you're in for a three-ring sonic circus. His second solo album, "Imperfect Harmonies," adds even more aural tricks and trapeze acts. The System of a Down frontman further explores the orchestral sensibilities of 2007's "Elect the Dead Symphony" with 11 prog-minded songs that live up to Tankian's own description of electro-orchestral-jazz-rock. Opener "Disowned Inc." incorporates all of that, starting with a string section playing power chords above a galloping rhythm before yielding to a jazz melody and then building back into a dance beat. But this is also some of Tankian's most accessible material to date, whether it's the grooving verses and exploding choruses of "Left of Center," the cascading ebb and flow of "Borders Are . . ." or the fierce charge of "Electron." He delivers the balladic "Yes, It's Genocide" entirely in Armenian, while "Beatus" weaves in Middle Eastern and Native American flavors. It's provocative but also enormously engaging.