Perry Farrell

Song Yet to Be Sung

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Even though Perry Farrell didn't disappear in the latter half of the '90s, it sure felt like he had. Lollapalooza dried up not long after he left, his follow-up festival was stillborn, Porno for Pyros never achieved the high profile or respect of Jane's Addiction -- and when Jane's did reunite in 1997, its companion album and tour were a distant memory a year later. So, he seized the opportunity of silence by laying low, developing a new sound for a new project -- namely, a solo career. During his self-imposed exile he, like many members of the alt-rock generation, became convinced that electronica was the next bold step forward, so he absorbed the sounds and learned how to make it himself, crossing it with worldbeat and new age spirituality for his ambitious comeback record, Song Yet to Be Sung. Part of the problem of working in isolation for a prolonged period of time -- which he essentially was, even if he worked with a number of different collaborators -- is that the end product feels somewhat hermetic whenever it's released. This can be a good thing, since it can help protect an individual vision, which is somewhat true of Song. Farrell certainly has his own brand of mysticism, globe-spanning electronica, and he keeps his focus throughout the record, letting the moods change slowly with the flow of the rhythms. It's easily the most consistent record he's cut since Ritual de lo Habitual, and it has a generous spirit that's brand new to Farrell's music. This all makes for an interesting listen and, if you're coming from a similar vantage, it could be quite compelling. Yet despite the idiosyncratic, individual vision Farrell displays throughout the record, it isn't exactly visionary, especially compared to records released during his prolonged absence from music-making. No matter its accomplishments, it sounds strangely dated, sharing more with Andrew Weatherall productions from the early '90s than such late-'90s rock-electronica hallmarks as Homogenic. This doesn't discount what Farrell's accomplished here, since this holds its own against Jane's Addiction far more than any Porno for Pyros record, but it feels more like a product of the '90s than a new millennium.

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