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Jane’s Addiction comin’ down the mountain to The Joint

There Dave Navarro was, shirt off (naturally), guitar on, locking lips with a chick at the side of the stage while simultaneously ripping a solo.

It was the first night of the I Heart Radio Music Festival at the MGM Grand in September, and it was a telling moment: Navarro’s band, Jane’s Addiction, used to be effortlessly scandalous and artfully absurd, but now, they really have to try to raise eyebrows.

And on their latest disc, "The Great Escape Artist," the band seems to be trying too hard on an alternately bruising and laborious record.

The album, the band’s first in eight years, has its moments, such as the punchy tussle of "Curiosity Kills" or the enveloping, psychedelic swirl of the Krautrock-esque "Irresistible Force."

But while frontman Perry Farrell’s voice remains an inimitable, libidinous howl, a lightning bolt of decadence and desire, his lyrics are too often trite and overly defensive here and, overall, the band seems so intent on re-inventing themselves with the aid of electronic flourishes that they forget who they are to begin with.

Still, none of this matters live, where Jane’s Addiction is still a force of nature, like the coming of the tide in rock ‘n’ roll form.

No matter how much these dudes age, watching/feeling them unleash the Richter scale agitating rumble of "Mountain Song" will never get old.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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