Completely on-brand weird and delightful
Perry Farrell has long been considered one of the most distinguished individuals in the rock world. He’s best known as the longtime lead vocalist of Jane’s Addiction, which was hugely influential in the early ’90s with diverse, hard-hitting songs like “Stop” and “Been Caught Stealing.” They’ve broken up and reformed several times since then, and in the meantime, Farrell has found plenty of space for other projects such as Porno for Pyros or Satellite Party. Outside of performing, Farrell is also the founder of Lollapalooza, which began as a Jane’s Addiction farewell tour before evolving into the Chicago mega-festival it is now. But one thing Farrell didn’t do was release much solo material. He released a record in 2001, and put some tidbits with his wife on the Internet here and there, but until 2019 it had been a long time since he focused on solo recording. That’s changed, though, as Farrell has put out a brand new record called Kind Heaven, which he views as a soundtrack to a larger, immersive experience he’s putting together in Las Vegas.
The record is short: it contains only nine songs and clocks in at just over half an hour, but it contains more musical experiments in that time frame than some bands have done over the span of their entire careers. Think I’m joking? Kind Heaven has a mix of everything from doo-wop to hard rock, chamber swing to EDM. The lead single, “Pirate Punk Politician” is a foot-stomping techno-rock bruiser with a middle finger pointed directly at the current President, while opening track “(red, white and blue) Cheerfulness” is a peppy throwback reminiscent channeling Sgt. Pepper. Farrell’s aforementioned wife Etty Lau Farrell contributes backing vocals throughout, most notably on garage-rock anthem “Machine Girl,” robot power ballad “One,” and EDM trip “Spend The Body.” The most leftfield of all the tracks though is “Snakes Have Many Hips,” which blends a swinging synth-drum with orchestra strings and Farrell’s most nonsensical lyrics yet. Perry’s distinct high-pitched voice is unchanged in the last 30 years.
If there’s anything to criticize about Kind Heaven, it’s that it will probably be too weird for certain fans. But for anyone familiar with who Farrell is as a person and what bands he’s been part of, this is totally on-brand and a hell of a lot of fun.