Music News

Perry Farrell

Perry Farrell has found God. That fact would usually send music scribes scurrying to hurriedly write his artistic epitaph, and rightfully so: Most of the time, when musicians claim to have suddenly tapped into a higher power, it appears that they have actually sold their souls to a much darker deity. An alliance with the Almighty is often a recipe for creative doom.

But if Farrell's solo debut is any indication, the fact that he has traded his allegiance to smack-fueled hedonism for Messianic Judaism is no reason to ring up the rabbi for final atonement. On his solo debut, Song Yet to Be Sung, he eschews the monster guitar riffing that powered much of his past work and bathes himself in all things electronica. His forays into ambient and house are intoxicating, though he proves to be more in his element dabbling in tribal and trance, styles that are not as many light-years away from his polyrhythmic psychedelic excursions in Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros.

By choosing to work from a techno base, Farrell invites critics to accuse an aging alt-rock icon of hitching a ride on the latest musical bandwagon. What better way for the godfather of Lollapalooza to attempt to retain his shaman status? While hardcore dance fans may find some of the breakbeats and ambient electronica somewhat pedestrian, all should be forgiven when Farrell blissfully croons the nursery-rhyme chorus to hook-filled gems such as "Shekina" or "Say Something" in an endearingly childlike voice.

Farrell's always been more of a vocal stylist than a singer, and his voice, now virtually free of the shrill banshee shrieks he sometimes utilized to be heard over the hard-rock attack of Jane's Addiction, fits this genre perfectly. His chameleon tendencies may indicate a Bowie-like aspiration to boldly tread whatever musical landscape he sees fit, and if Song Yet to Be Sung is any indication, he is certainly more than capable of achieving that lofty goal. God willing.

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Patrick Casey