Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist

by Miz DeShannon Rating:9.5 Release Date:2011-10-17

Despite Jane's Addiciton having been around since the late 80s, I must admit I'm pretty new to listening to their music properly, apart from the odd thing like 'Been Caught Stealing' that popped into my ears as a teenager. I remember watching epic live performances and the album Ritual De Lo Habitual (1990) being a bit of a crazy psychedelic piece, but this new album is definitely not the same. After becoming another of those alt-rock bands who had a line-up, broke up, reformed, lost a member and reformed for a celebratory tour again, they have settled with a good producer, and have returned with quite a massive sounding album. Which isn't a great description to use really, but when you hear The Great Escape Artist, you'll understand.

Starting with, in my opinion, the best track on the album, 'Underground' has a huge intro build-up. Perry Farrell's characteristic wailing voice cuts in the great stomping guitar riffs, and there's a rare solo from Dave Navarro. It's a strong first song, a brilliant opening track, really hits you like a smack in the face, which is great. After such an opening, 'End to the Lies' softens a bit, though the guitars wailing in the background still create quite an enormous sound. Featuring Farrell's signature vocal distortion, 'Curiosity Kills', although a bit repetetive at times, is full of more solid basslines, with more melody and vocal harmonies. You can tell in the production that they're not a band who like delicate measures in their performance, everything has a pacy heavy bass sound that's a bit off-centre for regular rock. Current single 'Irresistible Force' with its spine-tingling high-pitched wail of a chorus which jumps out of a delicate hamonious intro is typical Jane's Addiction, powerful yet melodic all at once.

The flow of the album seems to become a bit of a drag mid-way through upon first listen; every song has a quiet-to-loud intro build up, pretty much exactly the same give or take. 'I'll Hit You Back' and 'Twisted Tales' bring more of the same, with some tweaks here and there, and 80s gothy guitar twangs on the latter, and again 'Ultimate Reason' has a great bass ploughing through it but isn't hugely exciting. However, these three are 'growers' for sure.

With a band like this, they have 'their sound', a hardened, tried and tested brilliance which has got them where they are, so you can't really expect to be able to discuss and dissect their work as you would a new band. Farrell isn't a folky poet type, but the lyrics aren't drab nonsensical drivvel, although maybe a bit more creativitiy in composition wouldn't have gone amiss, or is that just being pedantic?

All is soon brought back with the melodic differences in 'Splash a Little Water on It', a slower thoughtful piece, less full on growling rock, and 'Broken People', a more romantic twee track with a nice rock guitar solo. 'Words Right Out of My Mouth' is as brilliant an end to the album as 'Underground' is a start. Opening with Farrell discussing his voice loss with a doctor, it blasts in and carries on at a fast punk pace with a deep rock bassline.

John Robb was right when he said this album is "textures and the Floyd-y, gothy, post-punk"; it has a great post-punk rock sound, lots of hints from old goth bands in here, as well as epic wailing and driving guitars, heavy beats and great basslines. This is truly powerful music, definitely the type of album which needs to be played loud to get the full force of the Jane's Addiction sound. Having seen what they're like on stage, the growling and prancing and full-on no-holds-barred performances which Farrell and Navarro give, this album evokes that perfectly. Great sounds and great production as well. They're back after (more or less) 20 years out of action, and with a massive bang.

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