“Strays” is Jane’s Addiction’s first serious effort since breaking-up after the brilliant “Ritual de lo Habitual” in 1991. It will determine if the band continues into the future with any credibility, especially after missing 10 years that could have produced their best music.
So, how does “Strays” hold up?
I have been compelled to rewrite my previous review of this album after listening to it for another week or so. I had originally given it 4 stars, but now “Strays” has grown on me – so much so, that it is now undoubtedly a 5 star album. Make no mistake, from the first listen I enjoyed “Strays”, but I probably didn’t give it a chance because I didn’t believe that Jane’s Addiction could recapture their former brilliance.
“Strays” is of a different style than anything previously created by JA. There is no funk/punk/metal mix, but a unique hard rock style (attributed to the new rhythm section – Chris Chaney (& Martyn LeNoble!) on bass are very faithful to the JA style that Eric Avery founded). They still miss Eric Avery though. Undoubtedly, Perry Farrell’s influence is immense, with those unique vocals. Thankfully, he has left behind that annoying flowerchild persona that dominated his ##### For Pyros years. Perry Farrell IS Jane’s Addiction and he easily reverts back to type. Dave Navarro’s guitars are typically awesome and “Strays” is his best work since ‘Deconstruction’ (note the last minute of “To Match the Sun”).
“Strays” flows easily from one rock number to the next. I will not list all my favourite songs because I don’t have one or two. The whole album is so solid. I haven’t found a weak track on “Strays” – it just doesn’t relent. I keep finding there is so much depth to this album – a rare find these days.
Jane’s Addiction is back. “Strays” may not have the impact of “Nothing’s Shocking” or the legendary status of “Ritual de lo Habitial”, but it will signify the return of this great band, and hopefully mark the beginning of a new era.
I recommend that if you are a former Jane’s Addiction fan then “Strays” should sit with pride alongside their best work on your CD shelf. For those intrigued by Jane’s Addiction, this could be the best place to start your collection.