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Sound Check

Oct 27, 2011
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By Chad Taylor

Radio Moscow

“The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz”

Alive Records

Sample tracks

Radio Moscow is as close as you can get to the dirty, growling and honest heart of power trio rock without a DeLorean. “The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz” is a victory for Radio Moscow in general and Parker Griggs in particular. The Story City front man is possibly the most singularly gifted guitarist working today. In this latest album, Griggs channels everything from Hendrix to Jeff Beck. Griggs’ guitar work is feverishly creative, unapologetically old school and fraught with pissed off riffs that bring to mind Blue Cheer and the Yardbirds. Indicative of the vintage sound are tracks like the trippy, bass-heavy “Speed Freak” as well as “I Don’t Need Nobody,” a punishing five-minute reminder of the glory days of rock that shifts the spotlight between Griggs, bassist Zach Anderson and drummer Cory Berry with manic alacrity. This is your father’s rock, in all the best ways. CV

Jane’s Addiction

“The Great Escape Artist”

Capitol Records

Sample tracks

Perry Farrell has always been kind of a populist bitch. Overtly eschewing the high-minded ideals of contemporaries Eddie Vedder and Zach de la Rocha, Farrell has been happy to monetize his blinding talent in just about any way possible. This was acceptable when the output resulted in work as earth shattering as 1988’s “Nothing’s Shocking.” Jane’s was so good that nobody really cared if they were a deliberately-created, money-making operation. The same can’t be necessarily said of “The Great Escape Artist.” There are moments of brilliance — the first two tracks, “Underground” and “I’ll Hit You Back” are as good as any music you’ll hear all year — but those highlights quickly fade as the band’s reinvented sound loses definition. Guitarist Dave Navarro seems wasted in the album’s punchless hooks, and Farrell himself seems more interested in experimenting with the album’s sound than actually delivering anything with emotion. CV

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