Eric Avery

Help Wanted

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Nearly a decade after the demise of his Polarbear project, former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery released his first solo album, Help Wanted, in 2008. The icy dark majestic sound of Help Wanted has little to do with 2008, and despite the occasional flourish (like the trip-hop loop that propels "Beside the Fire"), the album doesn't feel all that connected to the '90s either. Instead, it's an evocation of arty British underground rock from the '80s, with the ghosts of Bauhaus and Bowie looming large throughout these 12 stately tracks. Avery can occasionally indulge himself too much here, but he's saved by his mastery of atmosphere, as he maintains a richly nuanced, scarily seductive vibe from beginning to end. Perhaps it's a minor achievement, but it's an achievement all the same, as it illustrates that it is possible to turn this kind of gothically romantic art rock into something that feels mature, not sophomoric.

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