Eric Avery should stick to bass, avoid vocals for the love of God

Allan Lamb

Credit: Ron Soltys

Jane’s Addiction was one of the greatest alternative bands to ever gain mainstream recognition. After their first breakup, the members started their own bands or joined another band, with varying degrees of success. Following in the footsteps of vocalist Perry Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery has hit the solo road with his release Help Wanted.

While Farrell’s work is worth a listen and Navarro’s is less than impressive, Avery’s is simply atrocious. The musical quality is sub-standard, and Avery’s vocals are to the ears as a cheese grater is to the face. Remember the cover of the Butthole Surfers’ Electric Larryland featuring a drawing of a pencil jammed into someone’s earhole? That’s what it feels like to listen to Avery sing.

His baritone voice sounds like a falsetto version of Andrew Eldritch of Sisters of Mercy, except you can’t understand what he’s saying most of the time. The album even feels like a slower-paced Sisters album, although less sophisticated, and tends to drag by the middle of each song.

Avery’s forte, the bass, is only employed for simple basslines accompanying simplistic guitar work and synthesizers. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins makes a guest appearance on three tracks, including the album’s single “All Remote and No Control,” one of the album’s easier tracks to listen to. Other guest appearances include Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, playing horn on “Song in the Silence,” and Garbage’s Shirley Manson does backing vocals on the synth-heavy “Maybe.”

Help Wanted contains three tracks with “The Man Who Could Fly” as their subtitles. These tracks are not in sequential or numerical order as they are placed as tracks seven, nine and 11 and numbered “Pt. 5,” “Pt. 2” and “Pt. 7” respectively. Whether this is supposed to suggest a concept album might be beyond the listener due to the unclear vocals. Perhaps a better title for this album would be Help Needed.

Real Quick

Eric Avery

Help Wanted

Released by Dangerbird

Stater rating (out of five): *

Contact all editor Allan Lamb at [email protected].