Let’s start by saying I am really glad to see Jane’s Addiction back together writing and recording new songs, and this new album ‘The Great Escape Artist’ is a great addition to their catalog. They have consistently put on amazing live shows for the past 30ish years, and just always seem brighter and larger than any other band I have seen them perform on a bill with. If you have never seen them live, well I feel bad for you. You have really missed out on something unique. Picture Cirque Du Soleil on mushrooms and performed by the sexiest set of rebels and dancers that we all secretly wish we could be. But I digress, that is the live show, and this is about their latest recording
‘The Great Escape Artist’ features another cover art creation by Perry Farrell in his distinctive “day of the dead” meets post modern surrealism style. He says that the cover contains and represents all the things that the youth of today use as vehicles of escape from the world we are submerged in.
The opening track ‘Underground’ floods in like the kiss of your favorite lover that you haven’t seen for ten years, new, and at the same time beautifully familiar. The ten cuts on the album are very well put together, and show a maturity that only comes from years and years of mastering your craft. It has moments of the rattle-the-cage aggression that ‘XXX’, ‘Nothing Shocking’, and ‘Ritual de lo Habitual’, but for the most part has a more thoughtful and melodically complex feel.
As the album progressed I was thinking that this might be Jane’s Addictions ‘Achtung Baby’ and then track eight and nine ‘Splash a Little Water on It’ and ‘Broken People’ came on and that thought was hammered home. ‘Broken People’ really sounds like someone was studying up on the way U2 puts melodies together with a barely perceptible lyrical/vocal tip-of-the-hat to Lou Reed. This was interesting coming from Jane’s, much mellower than I expected, and in no way unwelcome. My favorite track after a third time listening to the album is ‘Twisted Tales’ with its slightly eastern melodic feel.
The final track picks up the pace again to launch us off on our own with a very rock/punk driven song called ‘Words Right Out of My Mouth’. This cut starts off with the “out of context” sound collage that you may be familiar with from previous Jane’s Addiction albums and slams right into the drum guitar driven verse section with intent. Strangely enough this track reminds me of the Hedwig song “Angry Inch”, in a good way. It has the same frantic urgency and well crafted feel, but also manages to slide in and out of a quick acoustic guitar bridge/break down with ease, cleverly keeping you from noticing the abrupt left turn they just took.
All in all I would say this album lives up to the creative exploration that Jane’s Addition is known for, and at the same time shows a maturity that younger artists just don’t have yet.
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