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Kettle Whistle

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★★★★☆
(39 Reviews)

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  • With the latest Janes reunion underway it seems only fitting to look back at 97’s “relapse” and its accompanying tie-in CD. This disc collects demos/outtakes, live tracks and four “new” songs (actually, only “So What” was penned after the breakup) spanning all eras of the group. Any Janes Addiction fan should find this stuff fantastic, especially the live material which captures their blend of punk/metal might and psychedelic artiness at its fullest–what can one say about the live “Three Days”? The demos for “Ocean Size”, “Had A Dad” and “Mountain Song” all present interesting (if not necessarily better) variations on the released versions. Of the four “new” tracks, “Kettle Whistle” is perhaps the most disappointing; one of their oldest songs (they played it live as early as ‘86), the melody and lyric retain their mystery but the quasi-electronic arrangement lacks real drive. “So What?!” is better, and proves that the group’s sound could have evolved nicely into the 90s (the group later complained that the record company gave them little studio time to properly record either cut). The best one, however, is the dreamy “Slow Divers”, a psych-oriented number from the acoustic show recorded for their first album given latter-day overdubs–Perry’s vocal and echo effects on this sends shivers down the spine, and why it was not released earlier is puzzling. Other tracks like the jokey “My Cats Name Is Maceo”, off-the-cuff “City” and the jazzy vocal arrangement on the “Been Caught Stealing” outtake round out the collection by presenting us with facets of the band not normally associated with their image. In essence, “Kettle Whistle” does what it’s supposed to do–collect minor odds and ends along with some stellar live cuts–to present an overall patchwork-like but still enjoyable look at the finest and most influential alternative group of its era.

    Posted on February 25, 2010