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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2003
Listening to this album it is hard to believe that it has been well over a decade since they released their last studio album (Ritual De Lo Habitual). Three of the original four members reunite to produce a classic Jane's album which follows on effortlessly from where they left off. The opening track "True Nature" may surprise some with it's heavy riffing and slide guitar but there is no mistaking that voice. Existing Jane's fans who have been waiting all these years will definitely not be disappointed. Equally I am sure they will pick up a new fan base with this album .... I only hope that this will encourage people to pick up their back catalogue. Jane's Addiction have never conformed to trends and are truly one of "the" most original bands. Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar)and Stephen Perkins (drums) all have a totally individual style and each is immediately recognisable. They are now joined by Chris Chaney on bass who sounds equally impressive and certainly not content to sit in the shadow of the original three. For those who may be unfamiliar with Jane's Addiction, I can only say that if you liked the single (Just Because) then I urge you to buy this - you won't be disappointed !
(For existing fans the DVD edition is a must - approx 30 mins of live and behind the scenes footage).
Let's just hope they tour over here .... they are one of the greatest live bands you are ever likely to see.
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on 25 July 2003
Its been 13 years since the last release by Jane's Addiction (not counting 1997's "Kettle Whistle" mixed-bag) and the band are still going strong. Overall, "Strays" picks up just where Ritual de lo Habitual left off. 11 powerful tracks that show that Jane's Addiction were, and still are the band that sets the standards for all alternative rock bands.
Strays starts out with the power-rock of True Nature, a song that shifts from hard rock to melodic meandering in a matter of moments. Title track "Strays" sounds like a track that could fit in well to the band's second release, "Nothing's Shocking". "Just Because", the first single from this album is a powerful rock song highlighting everything I used to (and still do) love about this band, Perry Farrell's melodic vocals over multi layered guitars.
The only difference from the "old" Janes Addiction is the abscence of original bass player, Eric Avery. New bass player, Chris Chaney, delivers basslines that perfectly suit the band and that Avery would be proud of. To summarise, this is a top album and I recommend it to anyone who wants to hear some great guitar rock.
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on 14 September 2003
As quite a few people will know who are reading this who have heard, or own Ritual De Lo Habitual and/or Nothing's Shocking, and to a lesser extent their debut self-titled, Jane's Addiction really are rock royalty. From their infectious power-riffing, right up to Dave Navarro's feather and diamond clustered stage wear, Jane's really are monarchs in their own field. Thanks to addictions, and other problems their reign had to come to an unfortunate end, and they abdicated just as they were making a difference. And now they're back with a terrific claim to the throne...
With the jury in they kick into their re-induction with one of Navarro's hardest riff, and Farrell screaming "Here We Go!" (Ring any bells?), on the opening smash of, 'True Nature', which while is a pretty straight-forward rocker, with virtually no ups and downs, it doesn't truly sound like a Jane's Addiction song, but at the same time, you can't help but think, 'They're Back!' with a great big smile on your face. And that will be the only hold-back for Jane's Addiction on 'Strays', knowing that many of their more seasoned fans will probably not appreciate this as much as the likes of 'Ritual..' and '...Shocking'. Long, drawn out masterpieces have been replaced by adequately lengthed beauties, that do and don't sound like Jane's and they are, dare I say it, more radio-friendly.
The only tracks that may offer themselves more happily to past fans who want more of what's already gone by, would be the likes of the album's title track, 'Hypersonic', one of the album highlights, 'The Riches' and maybe even the final track, 'To Match The Sun' which has an almost 'Three Days' feel about it. But for those who can accept the changed Jane's have made on 'Strays', there's plenty to dive right into and indulge for a good while. Single, 'Just Because' is surely one of the tracks of the year, and is just a pure out and out rocker that you won't hear anything else like, with a stunning riff to boot. 'Wrong Girl' has a greasy, dirty riff in the style of the past Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Sorry Dave), 'Everybody's Friend' is a nice enough, acoustic ballad, and 'Suffer Some' is bruising to say the least.
So Jane's are older, and more equipt, but maybe not wiser. And thank God for that in a way. It's nice to hear them trying this new style out while indulging in some past glories, just to enjoy themselves as they always have, not because they've run out of ideas. And they do sound like they're enjoying themselves. The verdict is in...
Strays to some will be a great application to regain the throne for Jane's, and for others, mostly those who've lived under the powers of them before, this may just be treason. Some of my fellow reviewers are not impressed by the former leaders new approach, but you tell me a better monarch out there to take the job. Never mind one that wears silver trousers and pink tops.
4 Stars.
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on 23 October 2003
Welcome back to the grandaddies of alternative. Jane's Addiction's first album in 13 years explodes onto the scene and is dearly welcomed in a world of depressed rap/rock tedium. Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, and Stephen Perkins reunite atlast with the addition of new bassist Chris Chaney. "Stray" is a masterpiece of flamboyant lyricism and decadent guitars that exhilirate the senses. The first single "Just Because" harks back in style to the huge sounding "Mountain Song" (Nothings Shocking 1990) but has even more energy and exhuberance. "To Match the Sun" and "Price I Pay" show the more delicate intimate side of the band. "Strays" mixes the band's in your face hedonism with songs like "Wrong Girl" with it's political environmental awareness which is apparent in title track "Strays". The album is a true breath of fresh air and is the band's most mature piece of work to date.
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on 22 July 2003
From the moment true nature starts this album is in your face with an up beat explosion of all manner of incendary like grooves. On first listen you get the impression that janes are hungry and content in their music.
As a big Janes fan this album does not disapoint, theres no monolithic three days or ted just admit it, why should there be? they`ve done that. All the songs exercise quality and all the aspects of Jane's addiction classic sound. Strays is much needed in the rock world, a refreshing colourful, exuberant blend of pschadelic, punk, funk and classic zep like guitar riffs. Unmistakilby different to the current rock and indie scene. Navarro plays a guitar in his usual fashion... coming up with riffs and layers of colour and power that are unmistakebly him. The new bassist fits in well and cuts a great groove on suffer some and price I pay. Perry is a lot less lyrically controversial this time round, Still sounds great though.
If you like their previous records: buy it
The album seems less experimental than say ritual, but all the new songs are more experimental in a shorter space, if that makes sense. As all addiction albums, the more listens, the more the album gets in your head.
If you have never listened to Janes before, the single just because is good representation of the sonic power and upbeat feeling of the record.
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on 13 February 2006
I have to confess that I came to the Jane's addiction party rather late. In the 90's whilst in my teens I was busy listening to my parents old vinyl eg Dylan/Beatles, which was great but as a result I did sort of miss out on the current scene a bit.I have since gone back to the 90's and explored things a little more. Many albums by such bands as Pearl Jam and the Smashing Pumpkins do actually stand up, and aren't as 'dated' as I was led to believe by some. When 'strays' came out it did seem the perfect chance to have a look at Jane's Addiction as a new listener. I have subsequently listened to the two earlier albums 'nothing shocking' and 'ritual de lo habitual'. i do think in honesty that these are better albums as they appear to be setting trends rather than following them.
What we have with 'Strays' though is an expertly crafted rock album, which feels a bit contrived but I found myself bowled over by the sheer enthusiasm of it all. True Nature begins the album with crunching guitar riffs perfect for rock radio, and track 3 Just Because, follows the trend. I would say my faves on the album are the Title track, 'wrong girl' and 'suffer some' which highlight some wonderful sinewy bass playing from new guy Chris Chaney. The hard rock only ceases on track 8 'everybody's friend' which admittedly is no 'jane says' but is still a decent ballad. Produced by Bob Ezrin, he of Kiss and Alice Cooper fame, they clearly said 'look we want classic rock here', and they got it. It seems a pertinent time now to talk of Jane's Addiction with a 'best of' out soon and it seems sadly the band is no more. I am grateful they decided to get back together for this final hurrah. It seems doubtful they will get back together now but if you're bored of Incubus or the last Red Hot Chilli Peppers album didn't quite do it for you, then give this a spin.
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on 24 July 2003
I hadn't listened to Jane's Addiction for a few years prior to hearing about their reformation and the imminent release of this album. The news prompted me to re-visit Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual (both 5 star albums for the uninitiated) and the second album by Perry Farrell's post Jane's band Porno for Pyros. Listening to these peerless classics produced a nostalgic reverie but also mild concern that some half arsed comeback album would merely sully their, as yet, untainted legacy. Therefore, I was a little nervous upon placing Strays in the CD player for the first time and, I have to admit, that I was initially underwhelmed. What I'd forgotten was that it had taken a number of listens to penetrate the dense, psychedlic punk funk metal fog of previous albums and that it was this very lack of immediacy that made them so durable. Anyway, suffice to say that my initial reservations evaporated and I've listened to very little else this week. Jane's still produce epic, euphoric, uplifting, positively joyous music like no-one else. There's no moralising or sermonising (always a possibility from a bunch of ex-junkies) but the mood is one of pure positivity (so much more difficult to pull off with style than de rigeur nihilism). It's a cracking album and highly recommended to anyone who has loved Jane's in the past. If you're new to the band, buy Ritual first but make sure that you come back to this.
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on 22 July 2003
It's been a long time since Perry and co. have graced music listeners with anything approaching an album since 1990's classic 'Ritual de lo Habitual'. 'Strays' is fantastic, and on first listen its difficult to take in, with Dave Navarro's signature style splattered all over the record. The songs are so complex and dynamic, full of melodic and crunching guitar sections throughout the album.
I cant really pull many weak aspects from the album, and just wait to you here the standard of songwriting in the last track 'To match the sun', which opens with an incredible cosmic melodic intro and explodes into life with a huge riff from Navarro(memories of Three Days).
From the Acoustic ballad of 'Everybody's friend' and the Chilli pepper style 'Wrong Girl' through to the full out guitar assaults on 'True Nature' and the single 'Just Because', this is an album with something for everybody.
'Strays' in my opinion is their strongest album to date. Janes addiction are the perfect rock band, and have talent which other artists could only dream of. Album of the year? Well its far better than the likes of Radiohead's release, so make your own mind up.
Its great to see you back boys.
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on 25 January 2004
An awesome album! What a return to form for Jane's Addiction. Strays is undoubtedly one of the best rock albums of the past 12 months - it makes The Darkness sound like a bunch of ameteurs if I'm frank. Each track is a mini masterpiece, whether it's Dave Navarro's sky-scraping riffs and solos, the heavy, solid as a rock musical power supplied by Chris Chaney and Stephen Perkins on bass and drums or Perry Farrell's familiar nasal wail. Standout's are True Nature, which is one of the finest ways to open an album of all time, Strays and Just Because, however the diversity and atmosphere of Price I Pay makes it the standout track for me. Basically, everyone who loves rock & roll should own this CD - indespensble!
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on 25 July 2003
It's strange. Ever since Jane's originally broke up in 1992, there's been a few bands who have been tagged as sounding "like Jane's Addiction". Whether it be Cyclefly, or Anyone, or Placebo even. Now, these bands might have had elements of the classic Jane's sound - the high vocals, the rolling bass, the HUGE guitar sound - but they really didn't have the scope and ambition that you hear on 'Nothing's Shocking' and 'Ritual de lo Habitual'. They could write a song along the same lines as 'Stop' or 'Been Caught Stealing', but nothing that could rival 'Three Days' or 'Ted, Just Admit it'.
The odd thing is, 'Strays' sounds more like an album by one of those bands who "sound like Jane's Addiction" than it sounds like a Jane's Addiction album. Strange.
It's a lot more accessible than any of their previous work, and would actually be a good starting point for anyone who had not heard the classic second and third albums. But the longest song on there is 5:44 - and none of them really have the dynamic build and the sweeping mood shifts that characterised the original Jane’s musical style. There are nods in the direction, but the headlong abandonment of old has been reined in and polished (Hope you don’t mind mixed metaphors). It’s as if they decided that the first half of ‘Ritual...’ was the better one all along, and decided to write more accessible pop songs and fewer trance-state mind expansion freak-outs.
Not that it is a bad album by any means; It is good, maybe even very good. But it isn’t Godlike.
Opener ‘True Nature’ is a statement of intent for the whole album - a heavy riff, multitracked vocals, a lush middle section and some guitar wizardry from Mr Navarro.
The Title track is a paean to the road.. opening with a Beatles-y Indian sounding section, then breaking into a stripped down verse - heavy chorus structure.
You’ve probably heard ‘Just Because’ already. I’d just like to take this time to say I like it.
‘Price I Pay’ is the first real quiet, reflective moment, but then unexpectedly and abruptly turns into a completely different song. A song with a rolling, bubbling bass line, funky drums, stabby guitars and a big chorus.
‘The Riches’ is the longest song on the album, and it builds from a quiet intro up into a huge chorus, then goes back down again.
‘Superhero’ is a faster tune. It’s almost a poppification of nu-Metal song structures - an unmelodic verse with almost rap-like vocals burbles along behind a simple riff, then bursts out into a melodic chorus, but the tune is strong and the production is clean, meaning it doesn’t actually sound anything like a nu-Metal song. It’s more Stadium Rock than anything really.
‘Wrong Girl’ is carried by Dave Navarro’s awesome funky riff. It’s a bit Chili Peppers-esque, all syncopated and musicianly. Good solo too.
‘Everybody’s Friend’ is a proper ballad, with acoustic guitars and harmonised vocals and everything. It’s dreamy. It’s reminiscent of Tahitian Moon by Porno for Pyros in the bit where the bass really gets going, but it doesn’t last that long. The finish is a bit abrupt as well.
‘Suffer Some’ is a rocker. Kind of a reversal of ‘Jane Says’ in it’s sentiment, being as rather than sympathising with a junkies’ self delusion, they are now condemning it. “She got problems?/ Come on name me one / She makes problems”. Maybe I’m reading it wrong though.
‘Hypersonic’ flies by on a rapid-fire drumbeat. This is the only song that shows any real influence from dance music, which is odd considering how dance-tinged Perry Farrell’s ‘Song Yet to be Sung’ album was. It’s another one with a sudden ending as well.
‘To Match the Sun’ is the last song. This album isn’t very long - only 48 and a half minutes. But quality over quantity and all that. Another good one, the mood of the song shifts from a grabbing, thrusting need to a subdued, distant yearning.
Overall, this album is good, but it doesn’t sound like Jane’s used to. But if you liked ‘Just Because’, you’ll like the album. Thinking about it, the single really encapsulates the album perfectly. If you buy this album, and I do wholeheartedly recommend it, do the decent thing and buy ‘Ritual...’ and ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ as well. Thank you.
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