Taking their sweet time to bounce back from the indifferent reception to their 2003 reunion Strays, Jane's Addiction reemerges eight years later with The Great Escape Artist, an album that draws a direct connection to the group's murkier, dramatic moments. Part of this return to the mystic could be due to TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek manning bass for the majority of the album, but his artful spaciness is grounded by numerous songwriting collaborations with Guns N' Roses Duff McKagan, thereby offering a tidy encapsulation of Jane's Addiction's yin and yang: whenever they threaten to float too far off into space, they're pulled back to earth by a heavy dose of Sunset Strip sleaze. This tension had urgency in the '80s, now it’s delivered with finesse, enough so that the whole of The Great Escape Artist appears to favor spaciness even when guitars are grinding out metallic grease. Frankly, the shift toward the ethereal is a welcome relief after the clean lines and bright L.A. sun of Strays, an album that emphasized rock over art. Here, the preference is reversed and the group reaps some benefits, often touching upon the dark, boundless exotica of Nothing's Shocking yet managing to avoid desperation; instead of re-creating sounds, they've recaptured the vibe, which is enough to keep The Great Escape Artist absorbing even when it begins to drift.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine