A bit more out there and unexpected

Whether you’re religious or not, there is little denying that there has to have been something watching over Jane’s Addiction over their 25-plus year tenure.

The ride hasn’t always been that smooth. Sure, they have had their share of the good times that brought  platinum-selling albums, successful worldwide touring and plenty of fame and wealth, but that all came at a price, with dissent that lead to the band splitting in 1991 (and in 2004) fuelled by substance abuse and clashing egos.  Their future seemed bleak both times.

Somehow they have managed to keep Jane’s Addiction alive and kicking into the 21st century, delivering their fourth studio album entitled The Great Escape Artist, a release that brings plenty of the classic elements of their past with some new and intriguing ideas thrown in. But do Jane’s in 2011 have the same spark and fire that Jane’s in the late 80s and early 90s possessed?

“Underground” opens proceedings with Perry Farrell’s vocal lines spilling out and crashing into Dave Navarro’s weaving guitars, pulsating bass lines and Stephen Perkins’ big drums. It really doesn’t seem like that the band have been away for seven years and the fire still burns with a dynamic, hard hitting opener that seems to promise an album of hard hitting dynamic rock songs.

Things aren’t exactly as you may have thought, for they have traded in their trademark punchy heaviness for something a bit more out there and unexpected.

The vibe of the album flows like the ocean, pulsating towards an atmospheric and psychedelic road with such tracks as “Broken People” brimming with plenty of pop sensibilities, the string-laden orchestral driven “I’ll Hit You Back”, and the delicate “Splash a Little Water on It” that conjures somewhat of a laid-back, relaxing feeling. The almost dance-like duo of “Twisted Tales” and “Curiosity Kills” are both driven by a twisting and turning bass groove courtesy of TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek.

But don’t fear, they briefly tread into their past rockier territory with the quite catchy and memorable cut “End To The Lies” that unashamedly takes a few swipes at a certain former member of the band (bassist Eric Avery) but is probably the closest to the heavier side of their back catalogue.

Sure, Jane’s Addiction could continue to get away with stealing, being your superheroes or climbing that mountain, but in order to remain relevant as a band in this day and age, the direction they have taken on is ambitious and fresh. If you have stuck by the band through and through, give The Great Escape Artist a shot and chances are it will grow on you. If you are new to the game, immerse yourself in their greatest hits collection and then in The Great Escape Artist.  Regardless, it’s nice to see Jane’s Addiction surviving after all they have been through.

1. Underground
2. End to the Lies
3. Curiosity Kills
4. Irresistable Force (Met the Immovable Object)
5. I’ll Hit You Back
6. Twisted Tales
7. Ultimate Reason
8. Splash a Little Water on It
9. Broken People
10. Words Right Out of My Mouth