Perry Farrell - Kind Heaven - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Perry Farrell - Kind Heaven

by James Weiskittel Rating:4 Release Date:2019-06-07
Perry Farrell - Kind Heaven
Perry Farrell - Kind Heaven

There are few voices as iconic as that of Perry Farrell. Since the singer first burst onto the alt-rock scene with Jane’s Addiction some thirty years ago, Farrell has been a fixture of the genre, spearheading festivals (like Lollapalooza) and doing loads of humanitarian work along the way. And while the artist has continued to remain active in recent years, the music projects have become fewer and farther between. Kind Heaven, Farrell’s first new solo album in eighteen years (and first new music since the 2011 Jane’s Addiction release The Great Escape Artist), finds the evergreen artist attempting to infuse his music with a modern flair.

Kind Heaven starts off promisingly enough, as the opening one-two punch of “(red, white, and blue) Cheerfulness” and “Pirate Punk Politician” are a welcome blast from Farrell’s guitar-rock past. Electronic embellishments and overtly political lyrics notwithstanding, the songs are a pair of straight-up rockers that literally leap from the speakers. Unfortunately, things get a bit weird from this point forward.

While it’s serviceable enough, the bass-driven “Machine Girl” feels like a long lost Porno for Pyros track, but it’s the abysmal “Spend the Body” - infused with an unhealthy dose of electronica - where things really start to derail. The song sounds like just the sort of thing that a well-intentioned (ageing) artist with a laptop and too much time on his hands might come up with. There are a couple more highlights here and there (the album-closing “Let’s All Pray for This World” is a keeper, hokey message and all), but any which way you choose to slice it, this is an incredibly disjointed effort.

It’s hard to put a finger on just what wrong here. With famed producer Tony Visconti behind the boards and an all-star band at his side, on paper, Kind Heaven should be a home run. But with nine tracks totalling just over a half hour of music, the record’s abbreviated length is a clear disadvantage, as most of the back half feels underdeveloped. Add to that the haphazard, eclectic nature of the material, and you have what feels more like an ‘odds and sods’ collection than a proper full-length.

That all being said, be it his defining run with Jane’s Addiction, his underrated stint with Porno for Pyros, or his enigmatic solo work, the thread that ties all of Perry Farrell's music together is his instantly recognizable voice. And at sixty years young, Farrell sounds flat-out great here. The bottom line is this: regardless of what era of the man’s music you most identify with, odds are there are at least a couple of tracks on Kind Heaven worth adding to your Perry playlist. And in this soon-to-be iTunes-less era of music (what happened there?), that’s probably all you can really ask for.

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