According to alterna-rock legend, Jane's Addiction was the band responsible for laying the groundwork of the alternative rock explosion in the early '90s, but like most legends, that's half true and half lie. Jane's was instrumental in making alternative rock accessible to the metal audience, mainly because they were essentially a metal band with neo-psychedelic, neo-prog pretensions -- two genres that have always appealed to metal and hard rock audiences. Nothing confirms that fact like Kettle Whistle, an odds and ends collection of live tracks, demos, alternate takes, and new tracks recorded by a "relapsed" Jane's featuring all the original members minus Eric Avery, who is replaced by Flea. Unfortunately, Kettle Whistle isn't the best place to hear their achievements, whether you're a diehard or a curious fan. Simply put, nothing here needed to be released, and there are no revelations. If anything, cuts like the embarrassing "My Cat's Name Is Maceo" detract from the Jane's myth, and the reunited cuts sound like standard-issue Porno for Pyros. The demos and alternate takes are all unnecessary, sounding like miniature, emasculated versions of the finished product, with the exception of the swinging "Been Caught Stealing." The live tracks are another matter, capturing both the power and the transcendence of Jane's Addiction's live performances. That's still not enough to make Kettle Whistle a worthy release because there is no sense or logic to its sequencing, and only a few tracks capture the power of Jane's (and even those will be familiar to diehards through bootlegs). It's not a terrible record, but it isn't a very good one, and it's hard to picture Kettle Whistle as anything other than an attempt to cash in on their legend.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine