Jane's Addiction

The Great Escape Artist

BY Chris GramlichPublished Oct 18, 2011

Well, it's not Strays part 2, thankfully. But, then again, neither is it Ritual De Lo Habitual, Nothing's Shocking or even a pale imitation thereof. While it's admittedly unfair to expect such a return to form so far removed from Jane's glory days (they were the band that sparked the alternative revolution back in the late '80s/early '90s, after all), when you reunite the original line-up (including long-time hold-out Eric Avery) and play select shows featuring only classic-era material, fans will dare to dream. But Eric quickly departed once work began on a new record, which was the first sign of trouble in paradise, then the addition and quick subtraction of Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver, Guns n' Roses) signalled that paradise may very well be lost, again. Ultimately, Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) would handle the bulk of the bass duties and help with writing, with Duff also receiving a few credits. First impressions of pre-album teasers "End to the Lies" and "Irresistible Force (Met the Immovable Object)" signalled that Jane's 2011 might have somehow managed to recapture just a touch of their long-lost magic. But they're unfortunately the standout offerings, not promises of grander creations to uncover. Opener "Underground" is also one of the stronger efforts, but too much of The Great Escape Artist dwells in that MOR, strange electronic-/industrial-tinged middle ground every rock band were plying in the early '00s, while their efforts with Duff ("Words Right Out of My Mouth") sound like a weird mash-up of VR and more current Jane's. Maybe Eric knew what he was doing after all; search out his and Navarro's hard to find Deconstruction self-titled full-length to hear the proper musical follow-up to Ritual.

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