Jane’s Addiction – The Great Escape Artist (2011)

Nothing’s shocking: Perry Farrell at age 52 is not that restless, rebellious rock and roll singer anymore as he was almost three decades ago when his band, Psi Com. metamorphosed into Jane’s Addiction. Original bass player and former member Eric Avery rejoined the band in 2008, but departing again in 2010, so he was replaced by Chris Chaney, after initially they worked for nine months on the new album with Velvet Revolver and former Guns’N’Roses bass player Duff McKagan. McKagan joined enthusiast and seems to left disappointed. Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio was brought in to writing and recording the album and the result is kind of TV on the Radio featuring Porno for Pyros – Farrell’s post Jane’s Addiction band between ’92-’98… Unfortunately. But it might work quite alright as a soundtrack for a movie about an aging rock star or lonesome mid-age unemployee.
Farrell said: “It’s a strange mixture of that post-punk Goth darkness that Jane’s had, with what’s going on today with groups like Muse and Radiohead. As much as I want to appease fans and make old Jane’s fans love me, I just can’t help myself from moving forward.” And “The Great Escape Artist” actually sounds like a toothless Jane’s Addiction lost into a cinematic post-rock soundscape with few sparking reminiscences of tasteless, so-called alternative rock cliches collected. Kind of exactly what against Jane’s Addiction was about. Minimalist and gloomy, Farrell seems to delivered a possible self-portrait and the portrait of the confused man caught in the midlife crises and lost in the strange and desperate times we’re living nowadays.

Well, I might be the perfect prototype of the old fan Farrell mentioned. I love Jane’s since I heard for the very first time back at the end of the 80’s their live album also known as Triple-X or XXX and songs such as “Whores”, “Pigs in Zen”, “Jane Says”, “I Would For You” stuck in my mind. In January 1988, Jane’s Addiction went into the studio to record its first studio album, “Nothing’s Shocking” with producer Dave Jerden. “Mountain Song” was released as a single; MTV refused to air the song’s music video due to a scene containing full frontal nudity. Due to lack of airplay on MTV and modern rock radio, the album only sold 200,000 to 250,000 copies in its first year of release. After the album’s release, the band went on tour, opening for Iggy Pop and The Ramones.
“Ritual de lo Habitual”, their second full length studio album is probably one of the history’s most important alternative rock albums. In 2003, the album was ranked number 453 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. “Stop!”, “Been Caught Stealing” was full of energy, anthematic songs of a new generation while “Three Days” shows an experimental, trippy Jane’s diving deep into exploration and psychedelia.
But Avery and Navarro decided to stop the rock and roll in 1991 and the band break up. Farrell and Perkins formed another band, Porno for Pyros, meanwhile, Avery and Navarro formed Deconstruction. I honestly believe they are all regret that they blow their chances to cash in big time in the 90s.
After the 2001 Jubilee Tour, Jane’s Addiction entered the studio with legendary producer Bob Ezrin and recorded the group’s third album, “Strays”. Released 13 years after “Ritual de lo Habitual” and without Eric Avery, replaced originally by Porno for Pyros bass player Martyn LeNoble and eventually Chris Chaney. Upon its first week of release, the album sold 110,500 copies in the United States and is currently certified Gold. The first single, “Just Because”, was the biggest single for the band to date, landing at number 72 on the Billboard 100 charts. But – in my humble opinion – something was already gone from the original nerve and strength of the band.
Although exact details and the reasons behind never was officially released, Jane’s Addiction once again broke up towards the end of their 2003 touring and canceled several dates. Perkins would later state, “We always break-up if it’s not real. We really can’t fake it. I mean we can make a million dollars for three months touring but we would fucking hate each other, which isn’t good. Even with the nostalgia, it’s not worth it if it doesn’t sound good, or look good. One of the things with Jane’s is that we have never been good at faking it.”
Well, listening to the suspiciously radio-friendly approach of the “The Great Escape Artist”, I smell the million dollars target and well, sorry, but it’s kind of fake too. References to Muse and Radiohead even coming from the mouth of Farrel are at least odd and unexpected. Fans of Muse and Radiohead not necessarily will be interested in Farrel’s version and interpretation of this music while Jane’s Addiction fans definitively expected something much more original and creative from Farrell and his band mates.
Maybe I’m an old s*it head, but I’m still pretty up to date with the music scene. And actually I’m tired of fakes and plastics, patterns, fancy producers, artificial trends and pretenders. Eventually escape artists, but I admit, everybody deserves to eat and ultimately, survive. And I think Farrell conduct a pretty good surviving operation right now. For more impact, eventually next time they can try some duets with Lady Gaga, Adele, Shakira and other Conveyor divas. It was just a malicious hint, but still, might work great!
“Underground” is a rock song filled up with electronic elements and it’s an anthem wannabe, it have a good pulse and groove and reminiscences of the “old” Jane’s Addiction spirit. “End to the Lies” combines glowing, gloomy layers with modern rock structures, Navarro delivered some cutting edge modern riffs while Farrel sounds surprisingly fresh. Actually this re-brended Jane’s Addiction it’s not bad at all, but still, I miss the rebellious spirit of the end of the 80s which gave authenticity to their artistic diatribe.
“Curiosity Kills” and “Words Right Out of My Mouth” are the two heavier songs of the album, while most of the record are waving around the cinematic and gloomy post-rock area of music with some psychedelic resonances and subtle electronic layers – pretty unexpected and wired for a Jane’s Addiction album. And it’s kind of odd – and perhaps fake – to listen Farrell still talking about sex: “The Big Bang was actually sexual intercourse. Like, cosmic sexual intercourse.” – said referring to “Irresistible Force”. “Curiosity Kills” pumping hard, it’s pure rock, the electronic layers fill up nicely the spaces and the song have a great pulse.
“I’ll Hit You Back” is like a pop song with some Pearl Jam after-taste. Quite skipable track. “Twisted Tales” continue on the same downside of psychedelia versus post-pop with electronic fills and rock aftertaste, genderless and pretty boring actually. “Ultimate Reason” floating around in the same soft-more approach, having a kind of nostalgic Zeppelin perfume, but it’s dressed up to the ultimate trend demands. The atmosphere it’s alright, but the whole construction seems power and pointless. “Splash a Little Water on It” it’s not very different from the previous track and the album seems to drowning into mediocrity. “Broken People” against it’s striking simplicity and minimalism it’s more authentic and breathing than the previous 3-4 tracks of the album. Surprisingly, this might be one of the most interesting and genuine moments of the album.
“Words Right Out of My Mouth” is meant to leave you a taste of rock and echoing guitars in your ears to save something at least at the level of perception ’bout Jane’s Addiction.

Tracklist:

01. Underground
02. End to the Lies
03. Curiosity Kills
04. Irresistible Force
05. I’ll Hit You Back
06. Twisted Tales
07. Ultimate Reason
08. Splash a Little Water on It
09. Broken People
10. Words Right Out of My Mouth

After considering a number of producers, including Flood, the album was produced by Rich Costey who previously worked with Muse, Cave In, Thursday, Franz Ferdinand, Glasvegas, The Mars Volta, Doves, Bloc Party, Ontronik (The Apex Theory), Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance, Supergrass, Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Philip Glass, Mew, Dave Navarro, Fiona Apple, Mastodon, Atreyu, Apocalyptica, System of a Down, and Interpol. At the suggestion of Costey, the band worked with TV on the Radio multi-instrumentalist Dave Sitek joining the band on bass guitar and co-writing songs.
Scheduled to be released on October 18, 2011, on Capitol Records, “The Great Escape Artist” is not only the forthcoming fourth album by the band, but reveals a fourth dimension of Jane’s Addiction as well. I’m just not so comfortable with this future, Farrell talking about while regarding the album’s title, he states: “I love being able to escape my past, even though my past was great. I just love the future even more.” Unfortunately, the album seems lifeless and sterile.
It’s only one sad thing about all of this: I’m not even surprised or disappointed.

Jane’s Addiction – Official Site
Jane’s Addiction @ MySpace
Jane’s Addiction @ Facebook

Although my remix of “Irresistible Force” wasn’t appreciate it at the Indaba remix competition, I still believe I did a good job, true, not mediocre and predictable as it expected nowadays. I still believe: a rock band deserves a rocking remix.

Irresistible Forces (Jane’s Addiction Turmoil rmx) by the_spoiled_jerks

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