Jack Irons

Attention Dimension

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Jack Irons' status as an alternative rock prime mover can't be argued. With onetime roles in both Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, he watched the music develop, expand, and change from the perch of a drum stool. That said, Attention Dimension has little to do with his past. Dabbled in, worked on, and conceived of over a period of years -- while Irons was still ironing out the insecurities and static in his soul -- Dimension is an extended mood piece of soft gestures and pattering percussion. The drummer details his array in the liners; it includes "assorted bells, bell tree, big bass drum," "marimba, shakers, slap pipes," "and the whole kit and kaboodle." And this is true. From the gentle keen of opener "Jackie Groove" through "Hearing It Doubled"'s acoustic guitar/smattering snare hippie funk, nothing on Attention Dimension sounds like a traditional rock album, but it nevertheless is. Old pal Eddie Vedder contributes vocals to a crazy, underwater version of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"; it sounds like Pink Floyd performed by precogs. Other highlights of the album include "Dunes," which seems to have a gamelan quality about it, and "Water Song," an epic 12-plus minutes of consistently developing sound. Flea contributes a slippery, elastic bassline, Stone Gossard's guitar is a hand-holding friend, and Irons' consistent drum stutter is right out of mood-elevation hour. Let's emphasize again this album's utter lack of funky monk posturing or Ten-era sleeveless flannel wearing. For sure, Attention Dimension is closer at times to Keith Jarrett or Mickey Hart. But it's that rare thing in rock and, it proves, something that should probably be heard more often. There's no frontman hooting here, no lead guitar prima donna drama. Instead, Attention Dimension is the drummer's chance to be in the bright white klieg light. Give him a chance, will ya?

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