by Jim Dennis
From the smoldering embers of Jane’s Addiction, arguably one of alternative rock’s most legendary bands, comes Deconstruction – a one-off project featuring former Jane’s members Eric Avery (bass, vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), and drummer Michael Murphy, a former bandmate of Avery’s from Daisy Chamber. I’m inclined to describe the material on this release as “soundscapes” rather than songs. Most of the pieces try to cover too much musical ground and end up sounding long-winded and self-indulgent. Then again, this being a self-defined “personal and cathartic” project, that was probably the point.
Avery’s vocals are half-sung, half-spoken, stream-of-consciousness drawl, but his beat-poet persona fits the aural landscape accordingly, and adds to the overall vibe of the record. While Jane’s vocalist Perry Farrell chose to retain drummer Stephen Perkins and form the very much more accessible Porno For Pyros, Deconstruction is a vastly different and challenging effort. Songs careen from quietly pretty one minute to largely ugly the next, due mostly to the presence of Navarro.
I, for one, believe the intensity of Jane’s Addiction had as much to do with Navarro’s incendiary fretwork as it did with Farrell’s nasal ranting, and his larger-than-life guitar grind-a-thon is on full display here. Layers of shimmering acoustics give way to ultra-fat wall-of-sound chord barrages and blistering wah-wah solos. His playing is the saving grace of what could have been a frighteningly disappointing effort.
I look forward to what Navarro will bring to his new role as guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.