Album Review

The Great Escape Artist

The Great Escape Artist

by Jane's Addiction


Capitol
5 / 10
15th December 2011

Reviewed by Danielle Street


The Great Escape begins with a hint of promise... the opener ‘Underground’ brags hyperbolic riffs as Perry Farrell starts stretching out his lungs. But the truth of the matter is, Jane's Addiction are unlikely to again reach the grandiose heights of classic material like 'Been Caught Stealing'.

Farrell, who is now in his early 50s, still manages to hold a psychedelic note, but the tracks have little of the cheek and charm of the group's earlier days. Two break-ups over the duration of more than two decades, half of Farrell's lifespan, have taken their toll on the group. Jane's Addiction is like a well-worn marriage, making excuses for the quarreling and then going through the paces to put together some still-decent, yet somewhat lackluster tracks.

Interest was initially stirred in the project when it was announced that Velvet Revolver bassist, bleach-blonde Duff McKagan, was joining the Jane-fold to cover the loss of wayward founding member Eric Avery. But McKagan only served to pull the band through a non-productive zone and back on track to recording, he left before The Great Escape was cut, the bass playing on the album performed by two other "ring-ins".

The first few songs on the record easily slip Jane's Addiction into their laurels, leaning on a nostalgic grunge sound, but once 'Irresistible Force' kicks in it feels all a bit disingenuous, and kinda... dull. This realisation strikes at about the same point you realise you would rather be watching Dave Navarro dressed in animal skins and grunting away in Game of Thrones, than listening to uninspired guitar lines. This is despite the fact that the use of electronic keyboards had been introduced to as Farrell put it "keep things fresh".

It's not all bad though and 'Splash A Little Water On It" strikes some resonant chords. It flows in with layers that merge to change textures, achieving the band's aim of creating a journey out of a song. Lyrically the track is generally strong too, except for minor blunders like "drinking or smoking until four, five, or six in the morning". However, it ebbs out rather nicely onto 'Broken People', a subdued song tracing the tale of a female miscreant. This guides the album to energetic closing track 'Words Right Out Of My Mouth'.

It's hard to say whom this album is for, grunge revivalists would probably be better to go the road of vintage-Jane. In reality, The Great Escape seems to satiate the need for Farrell to be with his at-times estranged family, Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins. It's a shaky union but it might just be until death do them part.






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