Saturday, 19 November 2011

Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist

As one of the many disappointed fans at Reading and Leeds festivals this summer when Jane’s didn’t make the stage (I stayed stunned on the fence for a good twenty minutes); I had a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth before listening to this album. However this turned to sweetness pretty soon as I realised that Perry and the boys had produced yet another brilliant record.

A lot of older Jane’s fans might disagree when I say this could be Jane’s best album yet; but The Great Escape Artist is the work of a talented band who are very much moving with the times, and constantly drawing influence from all that’s around them. Blending these influences with their classic dark and raw rock sound and Perry Farrell’s soaring vocals, they’ve created an epic soundscape to rival any of their previous work.

The Underground gets things underway. It sounds very much like an extended intro to the whole album, but is a really good track in its own right, and contains one of many catchy choruses throughout the record. Then comes End to the Lies, the first single from the album. The first time I heard this track I knew I was going to buy the album. I’ve already mentioned the word epic, and I shall do so again, this song IS epic. The sound is a bit more ‘simplistic’ than tracks on Nothing’s Shocking, and has more of the intense modern sound of Strays. (Jane’s fans, what is wrong with Strays? I hear nothing but bad comments about it!) That’s not to say it’s stripped back. However, It’s been built on more than any of the tracks from Strays; heavy echo effects are present throughout, and little tweaks and sound effects from the guitar and elsewhere give it that extra edge.

Curiosity Kills is a decent track, but I can’t write too much about it because I need the space for... Irresistible Force. Certainly an appropriate name for the sweeping sound of the chorus in this track, with a tantalising minute of build up right before it breaks. A song that might sound oddly disjointed at first listen, but one that quickly grows into a firm favourite.
Sadly, the album does tail off ever so slightly (not much!), though it’s hard to live up to the two singles on this record. I’ll Hit You Back does run them close, and I greatly enjoyed ‘Words Right Out of my Mouth’ (although this may be because the interview snippet before the song begins seems to reference Jane’s cancelled shows at Reading; I could be wrong).

‘Ultimate Reason’ reminds me more of Filter (see ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’) than Jane’s, showcasing a more industrial sound for portions, but the variation from the older Jane’s Addiction style is something that sets this album apart and keeps it feeling fresh every time I listen to it. A record well worth buying.

By Ewen Trafford

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