Are Jane's Addiction the most on again, off again, back on again band in history? They seem to have split up several times only to re-form a few years later across the course of their literally decades long career. Is this a calculated marketing move to increase interest in the band every time they release a new album? Or is it just simply the way things have worked out for them? Who knows, but it certainly doesn't appear to hurt them, creatively or commercially.
The last time it happened, in the early to mid 2000s, the result was the excellent Strays album of 2003, which is inarguably the most hard rocking thing they've ever done. Fast forward to late 2011, past yet another break-up and reformation, and we have The Great Escape Artist, and while it doesn't hit as hard as Strays, it still makes for a very interesting and entertaining ride.
It marks a return to their slightly more psychedelic and atmospheric sound of yesteryear, possibly best exemplified by mid album dark groover Twisted Tales, which send shivers down the spine with its ambience. It takes until final track Words Right Out of My Mouth for them to crank the rock a little on this album.
And as you would expect, the album is dominated by the quirky and ridiculously distinctive voice of Mr Perry Farrell, with the hardly shrinking violet personalities and playing of Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins relegated to supporting roles. But this is usually the case.
Farrell is well into his 50s, but this record proves that his mind is still fertile and creative and his vocal chords are still golden, in a slightly off-kilter type of way. The Great Escape Artist is (yet another) great return for the mighty Jane's.