Jane's Addiction - Kettle Whistle
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Story by Tony BonyataSix years after their demise, Jane's Addiction, one of the most influential alternative hard-rock acts of the late eighties, have to decided to have another go at it as a band. Vocalist, and creator of the highly successful Lollapalooza festival, Perry Farrell along with original guitarist Dave Navarro, now of the Red Hot Chili Peppers fame, and drummer Stephen Perkins have secured bassist Flea, also from the Chili Peppers, for what Farrell refers to as a more of a "relapse" than a reunion. Original bassist Eric Avery was asked to join but declined.
On Jane's Addiction latest offering, Kettle Whistle, they cull rare demo tracks, studio out-takes and live recordings as well as two new tracks that will not only please fans who have been waiting for new material from this band, but will also introduce a whole new group of listeners to their unique blend of Zeppelin crunch, haunting melodies and L.A. street / freak sensibilities.
Drummer Stephen Perkins has been somewhat of an archivist for the band throughout the years, accumulating virtually every show they performed live on tape. "Some tapes are not the greatest from a technical point of view, but they have the right attitude", Perkins explained in a recent press interview. "Some are [sound]board tapes, or house tapes, but if I remember a show having a fantastic vibe, or the energy was there, even if it's not the best recording, it's what we were looking for. We wanted the songs on Kettle Whistle to represent the energy that was going on around us".
There is definitely no shortage of energy on Kettle Whistle. "Ocean Size", a 1988 demo, and "Mountain Song", a 1986 demo, both originally from their Nothing Shocking album, are fist pounding, head banging slices of post-punk enthusiasm. Navarro's blistering guitar along with Farrell's high-pitched, feverish howling on "Had A Dad" actually surpasses the original recording. On the 1989 studio out-take of "Been Caught Stealing" Farrell turns himself into a lounge lizard as he croons out, "When I want something, I don't want to pay for it. I walk right through the door". (Not exactly good advise for youngsters, but the cover does have the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer, "Adult Listening").
On the two new tracks, the psychedelic, slow groove of "Kettle Whistle" and the organic techno of "So What!", Jane's Addiction shows that they still have what it takes to produce hip, cutting edge music.
Let's hope more comes out of this "relapse" than just this great collection.
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