Perry Farrell : Song Yet To Be Sung

Typically eclectic return for Lollapalooza founder

As celebrated for his hedonistic lifestyle as he is for Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros, Perry Farrell remains a mainstream maverick. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, remember that the Los Angeleno stick insect was responsible for the gestation of Lollapalooza, a blueprint for US ‘alternative’ rock festivals since…

So, what grows in his garden in 2001? A thoroughly modern, almost Byronic, solo album that updates past excesses in the context of the present, and ignores Californian darkness in favour of a polished, summery outlook. Indeed, Farrell has gone global in a quest to extend the rock palette. Not by cannibalising world musics or working in a consciously ‘ethnic’ milieu, but by an embrace of electronica, techno, drum’n’bass and more.

Normally, this would be a rock star folly [I]par excellence[/I]. But while his vampire croak of old is sometimes in evidence, here’s a new Farrell – one that fills ‘Nua Nua’ with beguiling Hawaiian melodies; strafes ‘Shekina’ with Eastern modal chords; and haunts the accusatory paean to identity-loss known as ‘Did You Forget’ with a processed vocal symphony.

At the root of all this lies a basic allegiance to Beach Boys harmonies and errant ’60s psychedelia as well. Which has the effect, especially on the drum’n’bass propelled rumble of ‘Happy Birthday Jubilee’, of rendering the whole as a shiny new surface where electronics have enhanced – replaced, even – the usual rhythm’n’noise.

Dele Fadele