Spotlight Album Review #9

Reviewed on this page:

When the L.A. band Jane's Addiction, fronted by Lollapalooza festival guru Perry Farrell, split in 1991, two separate bands formed in its wake. While Farrell and drummer Stephen Perkins went on to moderate success with Porno For Pyros, guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Eric Avery formed a short-lived, forgotten trio called Deconstruction. With drummer Michael Murphy rounding out the trio, Deconstruction recorded only one self-titled album in 1994. The band's existence ended when Navarro moved on to a temporary job with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Navarro has kept busy since then. He has participated in numerous Jane's Addiction reunions, and he recorded a solo album called Trust No One in 2001. He also co-hosted the reality TV show Rock Star, and formed a band called Panic Channel with other former Jane's Addiction members.

Avery has kept a lower profile, declining to participate in any Jane's Addiction reunions before 2008. He fronted a short-lived late-'90's band called Polar Bear, and later recorded and toured with Alanis Morissette.

The self-titled Deconstruction album is exactly what its name and cover art would suggest: it sounds as though Navarro and Avery took apart the arty alt-metal sound of Jane's Addiction and reassembled it with their own vision instead of Perry Farrell's. Unfortunately, it's not a very compelling or cohesive vision. Deconstruction usually resembles nothing more than a long and labored piece of abstract art, without anything like Farrell's warped worldview to make it interesting. There's no denying the instrumental prowess of either Addiction alumnus. Navarro's guitar heroics -- alternately funky, grungy, tuneful, and dissonant -- are impressive, as are Avery's dexterous bass lines. (Oddly enough, we don't hear much of the latter on this album). But this band was in dire need of a vocalist. Both Navarro and Avery took on those duties here, and their unappealing vocals sink the album. It's unfortunate enough that their voices are extraordinarily flat and atonal, but they also display an annoying habit of singing around each other, sometimes with the use of overlapping double-tracked vocals. Avery wrote the lyrics, expressing the tensions of living in L.A. His lyrics are less pretentious and self-indulgent than Farrell's (whose lyrics aren't?), but they are also less colorful and less effective. The instrumentals ("Iris", "Kilo") come off better, but Deconstruction is ultimately a meaningless musical experience.

Track Listing:

1. L.A. Song
2. Single
3. Get at 'Em
4. Iris
5. Dirge
6. Fire in the Hole
7. Son
8. Big Sur
9. Hope
10. One
11. America
12. Sleepyhead
13. Wait for History
14. That Is All
15. Kilo


Other spotlight album reviews:

#1: Sigur Ros - "Von" (1997)

#2: Various Artists - "Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea" (1981)

#3: Gerry Goffin - "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" (1973)

#4: Graces - "Perfect View" (1989)

#5: Genesis - "Calling All Stations" (1997)

#6: hindu love gods (1990)

#7: Various Artists - "Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970" (1996)

#8: Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (1980)

#10: Juicy Groove - "First Taste" (1978)

#11: Emmylou Harris - "Gliding Bird" (1969)

#12: Various Artists - "Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett" (1987)

#13: Candy - "Whatever Happened To Fun..." (1985)

#14: RTZ - "Return To Zero" (1991)

#15: Klark Kent - "Kollected Works" (1995)

#16: Various Artists - "Rainy Day" (1984)

#17: Alex Chilton - "1970" (1996)

#18: Feist - "Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down" (1999)

#19: Attila (1970)

#20: Slipknot - "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." (1996)

#21: Eyes Adrift (2002)

#22: Stoney and Meatloaf (1971)

#23: Elliott Murphy - "Aquashow" (1973)

#24: Evanescence - "Origin" (2000)