The Great Escape Artist
Los Angeles band Jane’s Addiction’s fourth studio release might satisfy die-hard fans looking for the same old sound that garnered the group initial fame, but it’s not likely to entice any new listeners.
The 10-track album is full of songs we’ve already heard before—standard Jane’s Addiction, with Perry Ferrell’s vocals pretending to break and screech on the high notes, but remaining idle and background noise the rest of the time. Lead guitarist Dave Navarro continues to make his instrument sound like its wailing or screaming, but doesn’t offer up any decent riffs, which is a letdown given his reputation as a guitar great. The bass on “Curiosity Kills” provides an excellent intro, but the rest of the song falls flat and blends in with the album.
Lyrically, The Great Escape Artist delivers almost nothing—general angry statements directed in a vague direction at an unknown offender are the extent of the band’s message. The only break to this is near the conclusion of the track “End to the Lies” with the almost inspired lines, “You were the foreskin / I was the real head,” but even that’s not very groundbreaking.
The album will likely please fans, but it gives little in the way of innovation or creativity.
LISTENING TO ADAM Cohen’s latest album, Like a Man, is like reading a journal of memories, love letters, and lullabies. With a slow, comforting, acoustic sound, the Montreal-based artist delivers songs that either spark an emotional response or make you fall asleep.
Cohen delivers an album of stories about a man who has contemplated life and love. His lyrics are simple but loaded with meaning. Cohen’s voice seems wise not only because of the writing, but also the manner in which he delivers his songs. It’s as if he’s contemplating his words in the moment he sings them.
While musically the album fails to take any chances, sticking with simple chords, the lyrics are what give this album weight. The only thing that gives the music any instrumental depth is the variety of sounds used throughout the album, including violin and synth.
Cohen’s storytelling style is powerful, and its simplicity allows the listener to recall his or her own memories of love gained and lost. Ultimately this album is for personal contemplation and is especially relevant to those caught up in thoughts of love and relationships.
LISTENERS ARE SURE to be enticed by the opening track, “Kill Count” on U of O alumni The Balconies’ latest self-titled EP. From the frenzied guitar riffs to the wonderfully hysteric drumming, The Balconies does an excellent job of whipping its audience into what can only be described as pure, unadulterated excitement.
The rest of the album, while still maintaining a high degree of energy, isn’t nearly as manic as “Kill Count”. Loyal Balconites will be surprised to find three new versions of songs included in the band’s previous record of the same name. Not very different from the originals, subtle changes in the instrumentals render these new interpretations somewhat flat and may leave fans longing for a bit more depth.
Despite the awkward guitar distortion on “300 Pages” and the removal of some really sweet bass lines in the newer versions, The Balconies has once again produced a solid collection worthy of any music fan’s attention.
If monotonous vocals, static bass riffs, and repetitive drum lines are your thing, by all means, pass The Balconies by. If, however, you’re looking for a little excitement and maybe even some actual talent, pick up a copy of The Balconies’ latest release. Chances are you won’t regret it.
ANYBODY WOULD BE happy to examine the newly released EP album by Maybe Refuge, a new pop-alternative rock band from Toronto. Listeners will be pleasantly surprised listening to their four-song EP, Collision.
Unsigned bands typically over-use guitar melodies as an attempt for a music agency to hear them, so it was nice experiencing Maybe Refuge’s balance of background noise and vocals. The band’s vocalist, Joey Nico Than, has soulful vocals comparable to Muse’s front man, Matthew Bellamy, which is pretty hard to achieve.
Without sounding like the typical Top 40 fare, Maybe Refuge accomplishes the fine balance between pop and rock music. The band creates catchy songs without developing any annoying repetition. Any song on the album, especially “Viola”, could be found on mainstream radio.
If you are hoping to compare Maybe Refuge to anything else, Our Lady Peace is a band that first comes to mind. Both have an alternative edge without sounding too punk, emo, or like a whiny metal band.
Maybe Refuge’s sound is rare, and every song on its EP is unique, catchy, and full of energy. It’s only a matter of time before someone turns on their car radio and hears this band come through the speakers.
LAND & SEA by Sarah Slean is the perfect album to play in the background. The two-disc release doesn’t carry a manufactured sound, but instead supports a more relatable and authentic sound. It is also unique in how it houses two distinct sounds, which find a way to blend seamlessly into one another.
The first part, Land, has an upbeat, feel-good sound to it. It starts off with “Life”, a song that builds up with every verse and has you anticipating what the rest of the album has in store. Although the rest of the CD sticks to the rejuvenating and energetic theme, every track is still unique.
Sea, on the other hand, is quite soulful. An orchestra accompanies Slean’s voice beautifully, though the disc lacks uniqueness between tracks. Although both CDs possess different sounds, they intertwine to make one great release. Slean creates a two-part album where neither disc overshadows the other.