Perry Farrell's Satellite Party
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2007, Volume 14, #6
Written by John Metzger
Wed June 13, 2007, 05:45 AM CDT
Like most concept albums, Ultra Payloaded — the debut from Perry Farrell’s new outfit Satellite Party — doesn’t make much sense. The liner notes provided by the once and future Jane’s Addiction front man sketch a tale that involves public protest, environmental devastation, and mankind’s inevitable spiritual rebirth under the guidance of a mystical leader known simply as "Jim." The songs themselves wrap Farrell’s frustration with the status quo in an intergalactic veil of peace, love, and harmony. "The paradox of poverty has left us dismayed/Sliding democracies washing away," he sings during The Solutionists in what is an obvious reference to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Elsewhere, his message is more hedonistic: "I just want to celebrate another day of livin’/I just want to celebrate life...I just want to party."
Farrell’s message of trans-global unification also pours through Ultra Payloaded’s music. With help from an all-star cast that includes Thievery Corporation, Hybrid, New Order’s Peter Hook, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and John Frusciante, Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt, and the Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie, Farrell fills Ultra Payloaded with a strangely intoxicating mishmash of sounds. Throughout the set, metallic guitar riffs poke and prod at grooves that were swiped from Sly Stone and David Bowie. The Solutionists slaps a Prince-ly intro onto what essentially is a fusion of Electric Light Orchestra’s Showdown with the Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle, and samples from Rare Earth’s I Just Want to Celebrate and The Bee Gees’ Lonely Days form the bases for Only Love, Let’s Celebrate, and Mr. Sunshine, respectively. Tucked into the fray are hypnotic, Eastern rhythms as well as bits of reggae, and during the symphonic soul ballad Awesome, Farrell conjures his inner Bono.
Like U2’s Pop and The Rapture’s Pieces of the People We Love, the albums after which it most frequently appears to have been modeled, Satellite Party’s Ultra Payloaded is, at first, a little difficult to embrace. Though the sterility eventually is overcome by the outfit’s outright exuberance, there initially is a coldness to some of its dance-friendly grooves. More problematic, however, is the oddball revelation that the shaman leader who saves the world is none other than Jim Morrison. During Ultra-Payloaded Satellite Party, Morrison’s disembodied voice offers a reprise of The Doors’ lounge single Touch Me before he fully takes the reins on the post-apocalyptic Woman in the Window. It all plays out like an aural depiction of a novel by Robert Heinlein. In the end, Farrell’s heart is in the right place, and although the set fails to find the transcendence for which it strives, Ultra Payloaded ultimately reveals itself to be a fun-filled first step toward revolutionary change, if only it’s given time the time it needs to congeal.
Of Further Interest...
Ultra Payloaded 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 © 2007 The Music Box