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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Great Escape Artist
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£11.90+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 18 July 2017
another great janes addiction album
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on 17 October 2011
When you are responsible for two of the most groundbreaking albums ever made in 1988's "Nothings Shocking" and 1990's "Ritual de lo Habitual"(the only thing Jane's fans argue on is which is greater!) and you haven't released an album in 8 years since 2003's Eric Avery less "Strays" then there was always going to be great anticipation when in 2010 Jane's announced they were working on a new album with Duff McKagan(guns n' roses, velvet revolver) taking the recently departed(again) Eric Averys place. This would be only album number four in Jane's largely on and off again career and to just add to the confusion McKagan would depart in September 2010 and be replaced by TV On The Radio's David Sitek as well as touring bassist Chris Chaney. It seems however as usual the more problems and troubles Jane's encounter the better they get. As "The Great Escape Artist" is one great album and see's them mixing their old sound with new fresh idea's.

The signs were already good when they released "End To The Lies" earlier this year a song with a opening groove not to unfamiliar to "Ted, Just Admit It" and featuring Dave Navarro's signature heavy full guitar sound. Throw in lyrics like "You talk about me so much, I think you're in love with me" and lyrics like "You never really change like they say. You only become more like yourself". It's a good indicator that the song is about original and former bassist Eric Avery. The other single "Irresistible Force" showed a new experimental sound with the use use of swirling synths and a spoken word delivery by frontman Perry Farrell.

The album itself opens up with the brilliant "Underground" which has a big Dave Navarro riff carry the song through a bit like he did with "Mountain Song" as well as some great tribal drumming from Jane's secret weapon drummer Stephen Perkins. Dave Navarro a man responsible for one of the greatest guitar solos ever in "Three Days" and is on fine form here as he delivers another great solo in the track "Curiosity Kills", it shows Navarro is still one of the best guitar players in the game! On the song "I'll Hit You Back" that's got a great bass line running through and has Perry on great form it and makes good use of synthesizers which surely this is the effect of producer Rich Costey who has produced for Muse and Interpol as well as Dave Sitek influence on the band.

With the track "Ultimate Reason" we get a listen to what the album might have sounded like had McKagan made it the whole way through as this is one of his tracks(he also co-wrote "Broken People" & "Words Right Out Of My Mouth"). The song "Words Right Out of My Mouth" features a great acoustic bridge before Navarro takes us out again. "Twisted Tales" is a great track where all instruments work well together and has a great rhythm running throughout it. On the song "Broken People" the bass starts the track before Perry delivers a lovely slow vocal as Stephen Perkins drums play in the background before Dave Navarro steps in with a heavy guitar riff the compliments the song really well.

With the special edition you get a second disc of the band recorded live at the vive latino festival from this year, there's a version of "End To The Lies" included as well as classics like "Three Days", "Ted, Just Admit It", "Mountain Song" and "Ocean Size", it features 11 songs and at just under an hour is longer than the studio album, also it's good to see the artwork return to something like the earlier albums after the band photo used for "Strays", the album contains all the lyrics as well as who played and wrote what.

With "The Great Escape Artist" Jane's Addiction have answered all their critics who said they had no future with out Avery and while it would have been nice to have Eric Avery along for the ride the band sounds revitalized and with an album that doesn't even take up 40 minutes is one that will add to the legacy of the band even if it never matches either "Nothings Shocking" or "Ritual de lo Habitual"(lets face it not much does) and lets hope they don't self implode once again as on this form I can't wait another 8 years for album number 5!
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on 8 November 2011
I had to chip in with my own review having read the one star contribution in this list. Ok, so firstly I totally empathise with you guys who got stung buying the single disk version. If I had done the same, hand on heart, I may not have been able to rate this as a five star album myself. I thank you for bringing it to everyone's attention so others don't make the same mistake. However, I think we all need to bear in mind that it was one of two things - either a) A ruse by the band to get more money with double CD sales or b), simply a bit of a mess up with the marketing/record company/distributors? My opinion is the latter.

So the album itself - amazing.

I have Tommy Vance to thank for my love of JA by playing '1%' on the Radio 1 Rock show circa 1990/1. So I'm an older fan who's loved 'Nothing's Shocking' and 'Ritual' but with 'Strays' I have to admit, I've always struggled to feel the same way about the entirety of that album. As much as Ritual is stylistically very broad I always thought of it as album of two halves - two separate musical movements. Strays varied too but I've always fond myself switching off with some of the tracks and disengaging from it.

However, with The Great Escape Artist, I've listened right the way through with baited breath waiting for a filler track to rear it's head. But no - nothing. Every track on here is really up there in terms of quality from every angle - lyrics, guitar, vocals etc. It sounds like a really well rounded and cohesive album. It sounds like every one of the band came in and performed at their peak.

Finally, the comment about terrible production in the one star review I listed - sorry mate, with all due respect I just haven't got a scooby as to what you are talking about. The sound is clear, full, dynamic and deep. And that is on a car stereo, mid budget living room stereo and on my top end stereo it sounded unbelievable. If anyone is having a problem with the sound try taking of any pre-sets or effects, and put EQ, bass, treble, whatever to neutral. That's the only thing I could possible think of that will have affected your listening and enjoyment.

Anyway, if you're debating whether to buy this, stream any of the tracks on-line and if they grab you, you'll love the whole thing.
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on 6 January 2012
I've been a big fan of Jane's since I first heard Ritual De Li Habitual, and then got into their earlier stuff. While Strays was a change, it was a godd progression. The Great Escape Artist, however, is a cliched sound which lacks the enthusiasm and vigour that has always been part of Jane's music.
I thought it may be a grower, so have stuck with it, but despite a few mediocre tracks, the majority is weak. The bonus cd recorded at Viva Latina is little better. Gotta go back to the old stuff. I'll still give them a chance if they bring a new album, but it better be a shorter break this time if they've any hope of making another good record.
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on 13 December 2012
Oh boy.

It's hard to explain to the novice Jane's initite just how much of a jolt the initial triumverate of albums were. In the late 80's, they positively REEKED of funky danger. Great material, provovative playing, and a production / engineering job that kept them the right side of 'metal.' My favourite band for nearly 2 decades.

This album, on the other hand, makes even the tepid 'Strays' seem like a bona-fide classic Jane's recording.

It bears no relation to the early stuff. My headline is closer than you may think. This is worse than instantly forgettable. Alt-rock as envisaged by Mtv. They've bought their own hype.

No redeeming features whatsoever. Avoid.
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on 18 December 2011
I've got this record from 2 weeks ago, listening to it in an almost daily basis in order to get the most clear impression from it. It's great! Not epic but certainly a pretty decent effort all thing considered (original bassist leaves the band, then McKagan joined, then McKagan leaves too), this album could have been a complete disaster (but it is not as some have stated here giving 1 or 2 stars; nonsense). Guess what, they are still doing the same thing they have been doing from the beginning: evolve. If you want the same record over and over again there are other bands that do so (with more or less fortune), but Jane's Addiction evolve, push boundaries, and they do that with "The Great Escape Artist". Nice atmospheric sounding work, and although I do love rocking songs (don't look for that in this record, only 1 song qualifies for that category) when a song is good, is that, a good song, and they also nailed it with the concept IMHO, the album as a whole is coherent. I got the vinyl version; very well pressed with little dinamic range (I was expecting none) which is strange nowadays where almost all recordings and mastering are leaning towards high levels all the time), the sound in my system is very good. I don't know about the CD version, but this one comes without lyrics or inserts of any kind, just the outter sleeve, the vinyl and the plain white inner. To finish I recommend it if you like the ever evolving J.A., if you are looking for another "Nothing's Shocking" or "Ritual de lo Habitual" don't buy it but you'll be missing one of a hell great album.
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on 29 November 2011
The first thing I thought when I put this on is thank god the production is better. By this I mean the mixing. I found strays very lifeless and was pleased to find this is much better despite it being too slick for me. I do like this record and im pleased that the band still has good ideas and farrel still sounds great, but my issue with it is that the 'updated sound' doesnt realy work. This is still janes addiction but the newer textures sound a bit U2 in places. Its not realy breaking new ground and just comes off sounding like bands that were around 15 years ago. Its a proper janes record but it has some unnecesary gloss added e.g - edge-like guitar effects and some mechanical elements similar to muse. It would have been better with these taken off.
The thing is that janes addiction's old records dont sound dated because they had an original sound that noones accurately imitated. Theres no need to try and move with the times to make yourselves contemporary if you still sound new. This is a decent album and i prefer it to strays. it has a more epic feel and slower songs. shame duff wasnt on it. If they can improve a bit on this theres still a realy good album in them I think.
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on 5 December 2014
The glory days of janes addiction are long gone, Perry is obviously devoting more time to his side projects than to his song writing for Janes. most of the songs sound the same, and i have to say if i was new to Janes Addiction i wouldn't rate them that highly. This one is for the old fanbase, but the bonus live recording does make up for it.
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on 8 November 2011
In 2003 I was bursting with excitement at the release of Strays. I'd come to terms with the fact that Eric Avery had long since gone and Strays managed to have moments reminiscent of the genius of the late eighties and early nineties. Then came the NINJA tour and the prospect of a reformed Jane's with Avery back in the fold. Perhaps this elevated my expectations unrealistically, but his subsequent departure felt like a musical death.

I had no expectations for The Great Escape Artist, which is lucky because that's what it offered. Nothing. It's an exercise in mundanity. There's layer upon layer of overdubs which combine to produce a slick, impenetrable wall of radio friendly beige sound. Navarro still rips it up and plays some amazing and beautiful guitar, but it's smothered and restrained by the overpowering whole. Perkins' drums seem relatively uninspired, perhaps lacking the creative spark previously supplied by Avery's tribal melodies. Then there's Perry Farrell. A man who apparently has nothing new, meaningful or even vaguely interesting to say in his lyrics; a shadow of his former creative genius, it's almost embarrassing. Oh, and there's this other bloke, Chris Sitek, everyone said he was a genius too. For my money, they were wrong. I don't blame him for this though. Mostly I blame Perry.

I don't hate The Great Escape Artist, I just don't particularly like it. The word "meh!" possibly sums it up more completely than my waffle above. If you were a Jane's fan when it all began and remember the madness of tiny club gigs in '89, this won't fail to disappoint. If you came to the band late and missed the magic, you might consider this an acceptable effort. I suppose, given pop culture's current obsession with zombies that this is perfectly in keeping with the Zeitgeist - a rotting zombie of an album from a once beautiful corpse...
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on 25 March 2013
I only got to track 5 before turning it off & getting a refund request in. Sound quality truly dreadful, it sounds too loud no matter what volume it's played at... Shame as I own all their other albums :-( If you intend to rip the disc to a lossy format for mobile use it may be ok but if you want to listen to it on a decent hifi then I'd say avoid. Someone needs their ass kicked for this one!
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