2011’s The Great Escape Artist is a marked return for Jane’s Addiction… again. Having seen this before (Strays, 2003) it’s easy to be a little apprehensive. It’d be easy to think these guys have released another album to simply amp up their Lollapalooza tour. It’d also be easy to offer the idea that without former, and founding bassist Eric Avery, the one-man-ominous(in a good way)-army, this record is going to be nothing less than unsatisfying.

Like with criminal investigations, sometimes it’s the simple that is true, and this record is a crime.

Beginning tracks “Underground” and “End To The Lies” make you look up and take notice. Powerful and rockin’, they’re a perfect start. What would have been great after that would have been some memorable songs, or even some consistency. Don’t get me wrong, they ‘sound great’ (sic over-produced). The Great Escape Artist is sodden with layers and tracks that flex musicality more than add anything to the songs. Producer/Mixer Rich Costey (Muse, Mars Volta) has certainly put in quite an effort. And to be fair, so has the band; That’s the unfortunate part.

The terrific, unforgettable, rock band with the quirky sense of humour is nowhere to be seen on this serious, dense,
‘what is this supposed to be?’ album. This is the crime. Everything else could be put aside – A lack of Avery, over-production, two rockin’ songs then an album of not-so-rock-yet-not-so-pop songs that ends with one rocker to remind you that it is indeed a rock album. Without great songs, The Great Escape Artist just leaves us with a potentially great again, but not great right now band.