Sound — 10
While most these days only remember AiC for their heavy, sludgy grunge classics such as "Rooster" and "Man In A Box," the groups acoustic material is equal or better. Jar Of Flies, an acoustic EP, is easily one of the most beautiful works from a rock band in the '90s. Each song comes at you differently, from the melancholy "Nutshell," the edgy "I Stay Away," to the very underated "Don't Follow," which is rooted in deep southern gospel and blues. Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley's patented voice layering in open 5ths cuts through like a knife through butter on the standout single "No Excuses," possible AiC's best song.
Lyrics — 8
While AiC's previous work (Dirt) was rooted in the living hell of drug addiction, and portrayed deep depression and gloom, "Jar Of Flies" suggests a brighter hope for the future, and leaving behind a troubled past. "No Excuses," thought by some to be a wake up call from Jerry to Layne. While "Nutshell" depicts the isolation and lonlieness of withdrawal. For hardcore fans of the band, the lyrics overall give a glimmer of hope the Layne Staley was overcoming his addiction to heroin. While he may have at the time, we now know that he eventually lost his battle. In losing Layne Staley, we lost one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time, and dare I say, better than Kurt Cobain.
Overall Impression — 10
Following harder and grungier albums Facelift and Dirt, Jar Of Flies is an excellent change of pace which really showed the depth of songwriting and muscianship that the group had. All 7 songs are very strong, each carrying a feeling and musical direction of their own. An extremely beautiful and emotional album to take in, Jar Of Flies belongs in the library of any fan of rock music, or really any fan of music in general.