Jane's Addiction

The Great Escape Artist

Written by: PP on 15/12/2011 06:00:53

If there's one band I'd describe as being the quintessential rock band from the 90s, it'd be Jane's Addiction. Not because they were the best band of their era (depending on your opinion, of course), or even the biggest band of the decade, but because their grungy sound is the perfect example of how 90s rock bands sounded like. Moreover, their debut and sophomore albums, "Nothing's Shocking" from 1988 and "Ritual De Lo Habitual" from 1990 respectively, were among the pioneering releases in arena-sized grunge rock, helping define the way rock would sound like for the next decade before post-grunge would take over. It's no surprise to see bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden cite Jane's Addiction as one of their primary influences for their inception.

One of the reasons Jane's Addiction receive less credit and attention than many of their contemporaries is because they went quiet after the two aforementioned albums. Thirteen years rolled by before "Strays" finally returned the band to the public foray, and aside from the odd show here and there, we've heard virtually nothing from camp Jane since then. That is, until "The Great Escape Artist", their fourth studio album, which was released a couple of months ago as the product of their reunion world tour.

So how does it sound like? Like I hinted in the start of this review, it doesn't get much more 90s than this. Much like Bush's excellent "Sea Of Memories" or Alice In Chain's comeback album "Black Gives Way To Blue", Jane's Addiction haven't changed much over the years. They continue to rely on mainly two strengths: the brilliant, criminally underrated vocals by Perry Farrell that belong to the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in the alternative rock category, and a nostalgia-driven alternative rock sound that isn't necessarily too complex or nuanced, but is fit to be played on Orange Stage-sized arenas for tens of thousands of people. The soundscape is vast and has that familiar 90s echo attached to it, but not superfluously so, never outgrowing the instrumentals in size unnecessarily (Angels & Airwaves: I'm looking at you).

The combination of the two can be a little rusty at times throughout the album, but when it clicks, it really clicks, and the result is timeless pieces of rock music that have the potential to live on well beyond this decade in the nostalgic memoirs of the older generation when their children ask "daddy, but what did you listen to when you were younger, if you think this isn't good music?" after playing a track consisting entirely of robotic bass manipulated through electronics.

Songs like "I'll Hit You Back", "Twisted Tales", "Irresistable Force (Met The Immovable Object)" and "End To The Lie" meet this criteria. Regrettably, many others do not have this impact, and are consequently overshadowed by these in contrast. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that "The Great Escape Artist" is a solid outing, a retrospective look at early 90s alternative rock and how music used to sound like before trends and fads took over, but it does have a hit-and-miss vibe attached to it.


Download: Irresistable Force (Met The Immovable Object), I'll Hit You Back, Twisted Tales
For the fans of: Alice In Chains, Bush, Pearl Jam
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.10.2011
Capitol Records

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