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Jane's Addiction Strays

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Thursday, January 8, 2004 @ 1:17 PM


(Capitol)

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The mighty Jane's Addiction return from a decade-long hiatus from the recording studio with first full-length reunion effort, Strays, sans bassist Eric Every. Vocalist Perry Farrell, guitar god Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and newcomer Chris Chaney return to the monstrous sonic thrills that were the revolutionary alt-metal sounds of Jane's Addiction with veteran knob twirler Bob Ezrin at the helm (he of Pink Floyd's The Wall, and mucho Alice Cooper and Kiss classics). While not quite as revolutionary as they once were, Jane's still manages to sound fresh, fierce and ferocious, albeit slightly less dangerous and drug addled.

"True Nature" opens up thing with a wallop, sounding like an outtake from the Audioslave album, riff-wise, but pierced by Farrell's patented wail and enough "Ocean Size" power to knock fans straight on their asses right from the start. "Strays" could be right off Ritual de lo Habitual with its groovalicious, snake-like rhythms and melodic hooks. The first single, "Just Because," almost sounds like a kick-ass baby band covering Jane's, the way it ever-so-slightly updates their sound for the new millennium, yet retains of the classic Jane's elements.

Yet it's around "The Price I Pay" where this album takes off into friggin' outer space. This tune is an absolute classic, as heavy as the band has ever been (check out the coda, man!), with Navarro absolutely blistering on the axe and Farrell howling like a mad, rapid dog. "The Riches" features some choice lyrics ("I love watching as the snow makes brushes out of trees/And swinging from the tops of my guarantees"), a slinky riff and a terrific sing-a-long chorus. Hooks galore here, folks.

"Superhero" is slightly less original sounding, as is the funky fresh "Wrong Girl" and the ballad-y "Everybody's Friend," though all are solid tunes. Yet things get back on track in a big way for the deadly venom of "Suffer Some," the awesome "Hypersonic" and the colossal "Too March The Sun." Like "Price I Pay" and "True Nature," these last three are relentless, heavy, supercharged blast of classic Jane's that will delight fans and silence detractors.

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Farrell sounds as superbly annoying as ever, he being one of the prime examples of a truly great singer who can't sing (add Lemmy and Iggy to that list) and the rhythm section is as badass as this planet has to offer. But really, this is Navarro's show. For all his faggy clothes, MTV ass kissing, and Carmen Elektra flaunting (well, ya can't blame him for that!), the man is about the only real guitar hero alive today (besides maybe Slash, who hasn't made a good album in over a decade, and Zakk Wylde). On every track, he makes minced meat out of the neck and tears holes in the sky with his phenomenal riffing and soling. The modern day Jimmy Page if ever there is one, the guy is flat-out breathtaking. Tasteful, creative, inventive, heavy, delicate, sexy, funky, and fast as shit, Dave Navarro is simply the best guitars out there now currently making music for "the kids." The price of the CD is worth it just to hear him shred. And shred he does. This almost makes up for that crappy solo album he released a few years back… almost…

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