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Perry Farrell

JANE'S ADDICTION WAS sporadically one of the most artistically challenging alternative acts of the past decade. And poor old alterna-metal guru Perry Farrell isn't given half the credit he deserves for being one of the most innovative, risk-taking frontmen of his Lollapalooza-spawned patchouli punk generation. Case in point is this loosely interpreted "best of" collection, an ingenuous blending of experimental metal-cum-punk artistry and arrogance melded with the sexual blues-rock thwack of optimal Zeppelin, androgynous Lou Reed and over-the-top Grand Funk. The title track cranks up this skimpily packaged hodge-podge of songs with a punishing jackhammer electronica rhythm that slaps you across the back of the head like a Mike Tyson sucker punch. By contrast, the rather lifeless drum-and-bass stab at Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" fails miserably. The molten urban blues eruption of Zeppelin's bastardized version of the Willie Dixon-penned original is devoid of any soul in the hands of the Goth-adoring, substance-skewed Farrell. Without any dynamic guitar riffing and the substitution of Bonham's thunderous skin bashing for sterile drum programming, this flaccid version lies as limp as grandaddy without his daily dose of Viagra. In comparison, Farrell's crowning achievement, the instantly recognizable "Jane Says" shines with steel drum-accentuated playfulness as his double-tracked, high-pitched shriek strains to keep above the rollicking West Indian beat and the fluid licks emitted by guitarist Dave Navarro. The eight Porno For Pyros tracks fall predominantly short of expediting the perverse glam-metal demons of the much revered Jane's Addiction, the juncture in Farrell's circus-like career where he overcame his chemical dependency for the healthy comfort of hemp and natural Ecstasy. Porno For Pyros exuded too much faux affection and slobbering self-indulgence, and not enough hard-edged emotionalism which made Jane's Addiction such a tragically hip presence on the alternative scene's once cutting edge.

More by Ron Bally

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