Released: Oct 18, 2011
Genre: Alternative rock
Number Of Tracks: 10
The fourth studio album by the alt-rock/art-metal group, Janes Addiction, shows that they are still vital and musically relevant. Dave Navarros guitar work shines throughout.
The Great Escape Artist
UG Team, on october 17, 2011 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: The Great Escape Artist' is the first release of new material by Jane's Addiction in eight years, but you couldn't tell by hearing it. I went in with fairly low expectations due to the lapse of time since their last release and my personal disinterest in anything they've done since they released Ritual de lo Habitual', but I was pleasantly surprised. The album has 10 tracks and clocks in at forty minutes and is being released by Capitol Records. While forty minutes is on the verge of being too short for an album in my opinion, there isn't any filler on the album. Both the vocals and the guitar work blew me away.
Jane's Addiction got together in 2010 to begin writing the album, and after founding bassist, Eric Avery, left the band he was temporarily replaced by Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver) who did participate in some of the songwriting and performed live with Jane's Addiction before leaving due to creative differences. Bass duties were then taken over by Dave Sitek (from TV on the Radio) who also assisted in the songwriting and split bass duties on the record with Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney. Dave Sitek was only involved for the recording of the album, but Chris Chaney will be staying with Jane's Addiction for the forthcoming tour in support of the release of The Great Escape Artist'. The album was produced by Rich Costey who had worked with Dave Navarro on his solo releases. Three of Duff McKagan's collaborations ended up on the final tracks for the album Words Right Out of My Mouth', Broken People' and Ultimate Reason'.
The production is really textured well, with each song creating a tapestry of sound. The overall genre of the album I would probably call heavy alt-rock, with a slight goth-y vibe at times. The guitar work is genius, with some really interesting solos on the album. This is the first album where Jane's Addiction has really used a lot of electronics and new technology for both performance and recording. In several interviews, both Dave Navarro and Duff McKagan have described a Pink Floyd-ish type sound to some of the album and more specifically to Dave Navarro's playing. While this isn't something I picked up immediately on listening to the album, I can definitely see a little Floyd in Dave's playing especially in the solo for Irresistible Force'. // 9
Lyrics: The vocals/lyrics sound like what you expect from Jane's Addiction in an ideal world. The use of reverb and delay and other processing of the lyrics were done in good taste. After all the years that Jane's Addiction has been around (over 20 years, believe it or not), Perry Farrell's voice is just as impressive as it has always been. To me, Perry Farrell has an almost dream-like quality to his voice, which is also very distinct and has character. There are many vocalists that I don't feel like have any character in their voice and it makes anything they record come off as almost generic this is not the case with Perry Farrell. As always, Perry's vocals have been the perfect match for the music of Jane's Addiction.
The subject matter of the lyrics runs a pretty wide gamut, with Broken People' telling a story similar to such past Jane's Addiction songs as Jane Says'. The song I'll Hit You Back' (which has an almost James Bond vibe to it) is a song about trying to take the high road in a situation. The lyrics are well written, and the subject matter really fits nicely into the format as a Jane's Addiction song. No complaints from me on the lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: I've been really surprised with all the good music coming out in 2011, and this release absolutely falls in with that. To be honest, I expected a half ass effort by Jane's Addiction without the fire from their early releases, much like their last release, but they've definitely put out an album to be proud of with The Great Escape Artist'. Before listening to the album, but after hearing they were embracing new technology' in recording the album I was expecting a horrible train wreck, but they really incorporated their use of new technology in without taking away from their sound and power if anything it added to the end product.
My favorite songs on the album would be End of the Line', Curiosity Kills' and Words Right Out of My Mouth', but there are no throw-away tracks on this album. There are no songs on this album that I dislike. I've listened to this album several times at this point and haven't wanted to hit the skip button a single time. I'm usually not a big fan of music that is very busy, but Jane's Addiction has pulled off the perfect balance using the production to help create a bed of atmosphere for each song to lie upon. I've tried to think of something critical to say of the album in the name of a balanced review, but I really can't think of anything. I don't like the videos for the singles they have released, if that counts. This album will get a semi-permanent place on my mp3 player and will probably stay there for months to come. For me, this release is one of the most impressive of 2011. // 9
The Great Escape Artist
Battman1993, on october 31, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: After tons of lineup changes, tour cancellations, and general inner-band tension, California's weirdest art-rock group returns with a new album called "The Great Escape Artist". I am of course talking about Jane's Addiction. The band many people consider the founders of alt-rock took eight years to make it, but now they have a killer new album and a reinvigorated musical spirit. For those of you who hated 2003's reunion album "Strays" (I happen to love it btw), you might love or hate this album. Jane's Addiction originally tried to get original bassist Eric Avery to re-join for the recording, but Avery declined so Dave and Perry recruited ex-Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan. Three songs Duff wrote with JA ended up on the album, but sadly Duff left after a few months. Finally, JA brought in TV On The Radio multi-instrumentalist Dave Sitek to play bass and help with the electronic elements. Electronic what? Yes, Jane's Addiction has embraced modern technology and sounds. Don't worry though, the heaviness is still there. It's just as obvious. When many classic bands try to use electronics on an album, they don't do it properly, and the electronics end up taking over the album. "The Great Escape Artist" is the exception. The electronics never overrun the metal vibe Jane's Adddiction is known for. If anything, the electronics enhance the heaviness. The end result is a dazzling album that sucks you in and leaves you enraptured. Considering Jane's Addictio has always been highly experimental anyway, I consider "TGEA" another experiment. As usual, the experiment works well. Dave Navarro doesn't madly shred like he usually does, but his moody guitar parts and brilliant solos are a highlight. The rhythms are par for the course, with Stephen laying down good drums throughout, and David Sitek laying down bass. It's not really a metal album, but it's still heavy enough in spots to please hardcore fans. I figured I would review every track in order so my rambling above would be understandable.
01. "Underground" - The album opener is also one of the heaviest songs on "TGEA". It opens with a heavy intro and a very cool guitar part throughout. Dave plays a very industrial riff.
02. "End To The Lies" - Another heavier one. It has a great loudness to it and is explosive in a mid-tempo way.
03. "Curiosity Kills" - A soft one. Dave never cuts loose here, but his restraint is admirable. The hardest thing for a great guitarist is to learn how to hold back when need be, but Dave has obviously learned it.
04. "Irresistable Force (Met The Immovable Object)" - The first single, it starts off with a heavy U2 vibe, but once the first chorus hits, the song gets heavier. Dave plays clean in the verses, but his playing on this cut is very Pink Floyd-ish.
05. "I'll Hit You Back" - propulsive rhythm in the verses with a clean riff on top. Probably my least favorite song, but still passable.
06. "Twisted Tales" - Another soft one, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
07. "Ulimate Reason" - One of the songs Duff wrote with JA, it actually sounds like old Jane's Addiction minus the electronics. It's heavy as f--k in spots.
08. "Splash A Little Water On It" - Pink Floyd-ish. The lone epic on "TGEA", it's one of my favorites.
09. "Broken People" - Like most of the other songs, it starts soft and builds to a true rock vibe in the second verse.
10. "Words Right Out Of My Mouth" - The heaviest song on "The Great Escape Artist", it's the only true flashback to early JA. It begins with a conversation between Perry and a doctor about Perry losing his voice, but then the metal comes in. Cool acoustic interlude about midway through. // 8
Lyrics: Perry Farrell is 52 years old, but he still sounds good! Idk how he f--king does it, but he sounds kick-ass! His lyrics are a tinge different. He's not writing about three day orgies anymore, but he hasn't gone all wimpy on us either. "Curiosity Kills" seems to be about drugs, "Irresistable Force" is about creation, "I'll Hit You Back" is about fighting back against someone who hurts you, and "Word Right Out Of My Mouth" is about being speechless. It's all interesting. // 8
Overall Impression: People will probably scream fanboy because of my 9/10 rating, but once they listen to "The Great Escape Artist" they should come around. It's a alternative rock album with electronic elements. That's the easiest way to describe it. Unless most bands who trying to experiment with electronics, Jane's has used it tastefully. The overall result is an addictive album built on mood, not metal might. Every band gets the itch to f--k with their musical formula eventually, but Jane's has done it while sticking to their alternative formula. Fans of Dave Navarro's wild shredding might be unhappy, but while it's not heavy in a metal sense, it's emotionally heavy. If you're dissappointed with "The Great Escape Artist", it'll probably be better experience live, where a lot of the electronic elements will most likely be stripped away. // 9