Friday, April 29, 2011

Jane's Addiction: End to the Lies review

My love for Jane's Addiction is as deep as the ocean but I have always been of the opinion that once you have the two records you need, anything good they produce beyond that is gravy. Unlike much of my Jane's brethren, I was not a hater of their comeback record Strays - it had some ok tracks, Navarro was smoking as usual but it was overproduced and the bass player wasn't strong enough to drive the music (and that's always been their secret weapon, it's all about the bass providing the musical foundation for the theatrics of Farrell and Navarro).

As the first taster of The Great Escape Artist (due August), this gets me pretty excited about the prospect of some good new Jane's tunes. Rather than come out with a generic rock song that competes with their classics (Strays' Just Because tried and failed), they've chosen to launch the album with a slow burn assault which bodes well for the upcoming record. Musically, the song is dense with torrents of Navarro magic raining from the sky which sounds colossal and has a heavy groove courtesy of TV on the Radio's David Sitek. Further, Farrell sounds fired up and in fine form. Even when he sings possibly the worst line in Jane's history, "You were the foreskin/I was the real head" it sounds like the old swagger is back. Some of Jane's best songs are when Farrell is railing against someone or something and the unmentioned protagonist in the lyrics gets the pointy end of the Farrell stick here (possibly literally given the that line).

There has been a lot of talk about Sitek's influence on the band and while there's some trademark studio trickery here, it doesn't sound like TVOTR because the magic alchemy of Farrell, Navarro and Perkins is too strong to be muted by another voice. I guess we'll have to wait and see how Sitek balances out the equation when the album is released but based on End to the Lies, I think there is the possibility of awesomeness ahead.



  1. track doesn't sound too bad - I like the thick overproduced sound - lots of effects please. But that lyric - wow, that's kinda like naming your band Smegma. Maybe not quite that bad.

  2. Wow, that song is fairly epic. I'm with Reens, that lyric is terrible and adolescent. It does belong to a band called Smegma - possibly on an album called "Getting Jizzy With It".

    I do like Jane's Addiction but get tired of Farrell's voice after about 5 songs. I guess that is the downside of a distinctive timbre (yep, "timbre" - someone's been doing some music learning) not enough variation.

    x K

  3. I know, right? I was listening to it going "this is great... wait, what did he just say?" I could see why people could get tired of his voice because it's not an amazing voice technically but I think he's perfect for Jane's (says the fan boy).

  4. I remember a gush from The Hank [Rollins] saying the first time he heard Peripheral sing at a festival he stopped in his tracks and said whoa, this guy must be listened to, he's onto something.

    It's an unusual timbre all right - almost a girl's. But I don't mind it - especially when he's processed his voice with echoes and tricks up the wazoo - and on tracks like 3 Days, near the end, that primal 'Yeargh... go' - gets me every time.

  5. ok, as you might guess, I'm hardly objective, but Jane's Addiction are a mighty, mighty band, and while I will admit that any band without Avery in it just isn't Jane's Addiction (might still be a great band, and the band the put out the Strays record is a very good band) I think y'all might be missing the thrust of Perry's lyrics- Jane's Addiction lyrics are always mixing the utterly crass with the profound. That's a bit of the point, you see. In the late 80's, that was revelatory. Now, not so much, of course, but Perry is what he is. Think back to anything from Been caught stealing to Mountain Song (Which BTW is built around a very crass maxim about opinions)- there's always a sophmoric quality.
    As for Perry's voice, I remember back in 1987, at a club called "Coyote's" when I first saw them- Perry strains incredibly hard to get that voice. It's not his natural timbre at all. By the third song (Which I still remember was an early variation on Whores) his whole body was shaking to try to hit the notes. I can completely understand how that's exhausting for some people. I have the same problem with folks that do the death metal grunt- it sounds intriguing, but becomes exhausting.
    My point is that I'm looking forward to the new record, but Jane's , and Jane's associated acts are really not meant for everyone; for those fanatics that are unreasonable in their devotion, like me, well- there's a reason they call 'em "Cult" bands.....

  6. I'm with Matt on Perry's voice, I actually love it and love Jane's but know it's not for every one. That being said I still think that line is terrible. I know what you're saying about the provocative and crass nature of Perry's lyrics but even as a big fan, I don't think that's one of his best.