Who Let the Strays Out?
Back when the term ‘alternative’ music was actually used to describe music not on MTV, a little band from California called Jane’s Addiction was pioneering new rock territory. Since then they’ve released three definitive albums, broken up, released some solo work both good (see Porno For Pyros) and, well, not as good (see One Hot Minute), and reunited (minus crucial original bassist Eric Avery) to do an album of live tracks and leftovers. But now Jane’s Addiction brings us Strays, an album that’s more about pop appeal than alternative edge.Classic Jane’s Addiction is heard at moments in Perry’s voice, in Stephan’s beats, in Dave’s guitar work, even in Chris Chaney’s bass playing when he makes mild attempts at Avery’s original funk-infused low end. But more overpowering is the presence of producer Bob Ezrin, that’s right Bob “Pink Floyd” Ezrin! Amazingly, instead of building on his solid background of progressive rock sound, Ezrin infuses this album with electronic beat drops, sweeping filters, and other studio bells and whistles. This fits perfectly with the band’s now more radio-friendly song structures. That’s right, those epic jams from Ritual de lo Habitual and Nothing’s Shocking remain in the past. Ferrell flirts with some political substance in his lyrics, but isn’t it ironic that this album came out the exact same time corporate sponsors resurrected Perry Ferrell’s other child Lollapalooza?