The Music Box's #8 album for 2003
T.J. Simon's #15 album for 2003
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 2003, Volume 10, #9
Written by John Metzger
Jane’s Addiction may not be all that shocking anymore, but the group is still quite capable of making a damn fine album. The band’s latest outing Strays — which amazingly is only the third studio effort of its nearly 20-year career — is a tight-knit assault that succeeds where Kettle Whistle, the hodge-podge collection of live tracks and demos that prefaced the ensemble’s first attempts at a reunion failed. Of course, that’s not hard to do, given that Strays, at least, is a proper album.
It certainly would be understandable, however, if one took a skeptical view towards the reunion and new release. After all, the individual careers of Jane’s Addiction’s members have stagnated, and Lollapalooza, the festival founded by front man Perry Farrell, closed its doors years ago due to lack of interest on the part of the ticket-buying public. Not to mention that, these days, there is no better way to get back into the spotlight than to reform not only a band, but also a major festival, and ride that lucrative, nostalgia train right into the bank vault.
Have no fear: Jane’s Addiction is definitely back. Without question, the new chapter in its history has much more in common with the thrashing singles Been Caught Stealing and Stop! that punctuated its breakthrough Ritual de lo Habitual than it does that album’s arty, epic, prog-rock soundscapes Then She Did... and Three Days. While that translates to the fact that the band takes fewer risks and its new album isn’t quite as daring, well, Jane’s Addiction makes up for this with a consistently concise, but no less dynamic, aural onslaught.
In the blink of an eye, songs spin from a thunderous roar of guitar, bass, and drums to delicate Zeppelin-like auras and back, while several tunes, such as the first single Just Because as well as the title track, play out as if U2’s Achtung Baby had been fed through hard rock’s metallic shredder. Farrell’s unearthly wailing; newcomer Chris Chaney’s rumbling detonations of bass; Stephen Perkins’ pummeling, pile-driving percussion; and Dave Navarro’s grisly, gargantuan, and god-like guitar all combine to blast Strays’ eleven songs into the psychedelic stratosphere with blazing speed and monumental funk-punk-metal force, leaving the band still batting 1.000 after three positively electrifying trips to the plate.
Of Further Interest...
Strays is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box