Sound — 8
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.
Lyrics — 8
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.
Overall Impression — 9
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.