By Lara Kinne–

Jane’s Addiction never really blended with alternative rock. While flannel-clad grungies pounded through angst-driven chords, Perry Ferrell wore makeup and dressed in drag. Naturally, their showmanship separated them from most alternative acts of the 90s, but you won’t see any more drug-induced blusters about aliens. Only two albums conceived from Ferrell’s short-lived project Porno for Pyros are remaining fragments of those much stranger times.

After twenty years, they gambled the outcome of a reunion to put out a new record and launch a supporting tour. With The Great Escape Artist, the band fixates into a different swing.

The sheen of this reunion album may turn off those seeking nostalgia. Of course, the novelty of Perry Ferrell and Dave Navarro reunited is enough to sell the ticket. On this record, much of the raw, thrash tendencies of Navarro have evaporated within the buoyant sound layers that texturized Jane’s earlier slow-builders. They skip the ascending approach to song construction and go straight to maintaining a full-blown canvas to glide melodies across. Yet, this leaves a gap where the intensity of a scat vocal solo or spastic guitar spiel could provide the eruptive kick that made classics like Ritual De Lo Habitual and Nothing’s Shocking rich with memorable crescendos.

Fans can only hope some older tunes are worked into the set list as they play Louisville’s Palace Theater on Friday, March 23rd. Props to locals Deer Meet, who opened for Sebadoh last November, and will warm the stage before Jane’s Addiction bestows what’s sure to be an explosive show.

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Photo courtesy Warner Bros.