This album is dark, light, and in other cases, what ever you want it to be. Jar of Flies is very different from the albums, which surround its release. This is a mellow Alice in Chains, though none of the attitude is lost. Above all else, this album is simply beautiful, with the vocals and instrumentals sweeping you away from the reality of life for 30 or so minutes.
Cantrell's guitar work is far subtler than Facelift, Dirt, SAP and the self-titled album, though the brilliance of Kinney and Inez shouldn't be overlooked.
The Vocals again are softer, where Staley (rip) and Cantrell share roles as the lead vocalist, complementing each other perfectly.
A quick description of each track can be attempted, but justice could never be done.
1). Rotten Apple: Inez kicks off what is essentially a dark track, possibly the darkest on the album, with a slow gravely base, soon accompanied by Cantrell's Guitar work (electric in this track), never excessive, never understated.
2). Nutshell: This is an acoustic number, and isn't so much as dark as emotion provoking. A fantastic track which only seems to get recognition on the unplugged album, which is such a shame.
3). Stay Away: This is one of the better known songs on the album, and is the start of the album changing tone to a more up beat mood. Certainly a track which could pick you up when your up, and drag you down when your down, though personally I find it lifts up the mood regardless.
4).... Read more ›
This is certainly a late night, nothing is right album. For a start, the typical 60's style vocal harmonies on opener, 'Rotten Apple', are even more spine-tingling in this mode and mood than ever, the guitar on highlight, 'Nutshell' is enough to make the most sober mind think twice, and the guitar solo and lyrics can only be called spine-tingling. It's quite unusual that the least-good of the tracks are the singles. 'I Stay Away' and 'No Excuses' are still acoustic master-pieces, but still somewhat lack in comparison to some of the album tracks, despite the lovely string arrangements on 'I Stay Away'...'Whale And Whasp' is a fine example of how to do an instrumental right, and doesn't become boring like some do, while the Jerry Cantrell sung, 'Don't Follow' is one of the main highlights on the CD, not changing the pace but forever changing your mind. The only real change of pace of the entire CD, is the final track, the almost arrogant sounding, 'Swing On This', which is a nice change of pace, although not by much, but it's there to keep the suspense up. And it's certainly full of that. One of the most disturbing records I've ever heard. Close the windows, lock the doors, sit down, don't look at the rain splashed windows and consider everything you could have done differently, but don't forget to flick this on lowly in the background darkness...
Sap, although still an acoustic album is an entirely different kettle of fish.... Read more ›
I bought this double-EP when it first came out and it stayed in my CD player for months.
Contrasting the ferocity of other AIC albums, Jar of Flies shifts the music down several gears. The result is wondrous.
The openers, "Rotten Apple" and "Nutshell" are hypnotic, drawling, brooding spine-tinglers. From the very first time I heard the open bass lick, I was hooked.
And, thanks to the paring down of the guitars, we are finally given Cantrell/Staley's harmonies at their most intimate, most haunting.
As a late-night CD, or one just to put you in that pensive frame of mind, this is perfect.
I must admit, I had drifted away from AIC in recent years (primarily because they'd stopped making music) but was devastated to hear of Layne Staley's death. I immediately went home and listened to Jar of Flies and can think of no better epitaph for the man. A brilliant, moving, echoing record.
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