Jane’s Addiction love to keep us waiting. 2003’s Strays was result of a reunion after 13 years. Eight years later, they reunited again, this time releasing The Great Escape Artist. While this 2011 album isn’t quite as good as their earlier albums, it’s still good enough to be considered worth the wait.
Perry Farrell indicated that the title The Great Escape Artist was a reference to escaping the past and moving toward a more exciting future. The album certainly follows through on that theme, sounding very different from any of its three predecessors. Instead of guitar-driven alt rock, this album uses more electronic sounds, sounding more like Muse than the band that once got caught stealin’. While it’s generally upbeat, its energy comes from a more experimental place that doesn’t hit you as hard rock like their previous work did. If you can accept that this is a different brand of Jane’s music, you just might enjoy what you hear.
Though there’s less hard rock here, a few tracks do manage to amp up the energy. Opener “Underground” has some nifty effects alongside a heavy beat, wailing bridge, and strong refrain from Farrell. “End to the Lies” and “Curiosity Kills” are very cool tracks with a more aggressive tone. The final track, “Words Right Out of My Mouth,” gets things really rocking, relying less on electronics and more on intensity and punk energy. Tracks like “Twisted Tales” and “Splash a Little Water on It” have a more feel dramatic feel thanks to the electronic elements and the slow-build effect. The addition of TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek doesn’t hurt either.
The Great Escape Artist isn’t an album that will immediately grab you with tons of stand-out tracks. It takes a while to grow on you, but give it that time. It may not be the Jane’s Addiction you’re used to, but it features some very intriguing exploration. The Great Escape Artist shows that this band, despite its successful past, is unafraid to look toward the future.
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