Jane’s Addiction – The Great Escape Artist

Very hard work indeed

Jane’s Addiction never enjoyed quite the same success on this side of the pond as some of the other rockers who climbed out the LA scene of the mid-to-late-Eighties, but at their best, they had enough swagger and wit to give their sock-rocking contemporaries a run for their money.

Like the Chilis, they certainly had the chops, but while Anthony Kiedis has spent the past twenty years behaving like a bug-eyed gym bunny with personal space issues, Perry Farrell always managed to make it look effortless. Snake-hipped, stick thin and with more than a hint of the Bowies about him, he’s a great American frontman, without even having to try. It’s a pity, then, that much of ‘The Great Escape Artist’ – the band’s first outing since 2003’s ‘Strays’ – is very hard work indeed.

Farrell comes across like a man in the midst of an identity crisis, flitting between juvenile boasts and wrong-headed takes on domestic bliss in the space of a song on the ponderous ‘Splash A Little Water On It’. It’s probably telling that the only time he really sounds at home is when he’s looking back on a time before fame (“I laid my bed out / On my back seat” on ‘Twisted Tales’). But that’s only half the problem. ‘The Great Escape Artist’ is one-paced, bloodless, and frequently blighted by Dave Navarro’s ersatz Edge-isms. It’s only on closing stomper ‘Words Right Out Of My Mouth’ that they finally cut loose, but it’s too little, too late.


Words by BEN BRILL

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