Perry Farrell scarcely needs an introduction to readers of this website. Somewhat surprisingly for an artist that seems to be working on at least something every day of the week, a very long time has passed since his 2001 opus Song Yet to Be Sung. Farrell’s legacy will undoubtedly be dominated by his peerless work on Jane’s Addiction as well as his vision for Lollapalooza but his solo work and the fever dream qualities of Porno for Pyros seem strangely undervalued. And now he’s back.
One suspects Farrell cares not one jot for this kind of critical revisionism or, indeed, where he stands in “the canon”; he is, first and foremost, an artist and, what matters above all else, is the work. For this latest foray back into the musical universe, Farrell has gathered together a typically atypical pot-pourri of kindred spirits (Tommy Lee, Taylor Hawkins), peers and even Mrs. Farrell for an album that is as eccentric as you might expect but, surprisingly, more enjoyable and effervescent than you might be anxious about.
The resultant effort, Kind Heaven, is a whole load of eccentric, off beam fun, replete with melodies and a bucket full of ideas that bands of supposedly greater talent would give their proverbial right arms for. This new offering is an ambitious, often delicious, cornucopia of ideas. In many ways, he continues to be rock music’s Willy Wonka- a beguiling presence of fabulously off-kilter ideas, a mind feverishly trying to empty itself of his musical equivalent of Wonka’s Lickable Wallpaper, Fudgemallow Delight or the everlasting gobstopper.
As you might therefore expect, this is a record that is dazzling and dizzying, often in equal measure. On ‘Let’s All Pray For This World,’ there is a sense of euphoria that Farrell appears to have conjured at will; ‘Spend the Body’ is all electro-pop frisson; enigmatic and mysterious, in all the right ways. ‘Machine Girl’ has pizzazz, drama, and a genuine ethereal quality thanks to the work of Etty Lau, the aforementioned Mrs. Farrell.
If this makes Kind Heaven sound like a bit of a smorgasbord then you’d be right; it’s a heady mix of style and influence and certainly not an album for our overly tribalistic times; it doesn’t ascribe or believe in pigeon holes; it’s all the better for it too. Farrell has reportedly referred to this record as a Las Vegas experience or akin to walking through an Asian Street Market. You will understand what he means when you hear this record of unalloyed, creative ambition. Farrell is a singular artist with an open heart and a febrile mind and we are all the better for having him part of our world.
7 / 10