The Panic Channel - One
Mike Caulfield 23/08/2006
Former members of the relapsed Jane's Addiction; Stephan Perkins, Chris Chaney and budding US reality TV shill Dave Navarro deliver a tepid, streamlined translation of their former band, with the help of MTV presenter-turned songwriter; Steve Isaacs.
The Panic Channel kick off, as you'd expect, with an up-tempo “classic” rocker, in the shape of 'Teahouse of the Spirits', Perkins' industrious kit thumping interweaving with Chaney's low-end rumbling provide the rhythm for a rather pedestrian riff from Navarro, one that lacks his usual charm and loose style. Vocalist, Steve Isaacs puts on his best rock front man impression, sounding like some of the 'Rock Star' hopefuls that Navarro encounters on his TV day job.
Navarro slowly begins to redeem himself as the album progresses, 'Left To Lose', contains the kind of searing guitar solo that set him apart from the herd first time around and also spawned countless imitators.
Similarly, 'Said You'd Be' evokes Navarro's stint in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which (despite much derision from my peers) I thought was all right. The nostalgia trip continues with 'Outsider', which bares an uncanny resemblance to Ritual De Lo Habitual's closing number, 'Classic Girl', with its expansive, melancholic chords accompanying Isaacs's delicate delivery.
Isaacs' songs take their cue from such post-grunge radio rockers as Nickleback and Creed, bands clearly indebted to Jane's Addiction; 'Why Cry' has the kind of over-polished production which makes rock palatable for the American mainstream audiences and favoured by these bands.
The problem with 'One' is that the former members of Jane's and Isaacs have radically different approaches to writing, which don't always gel together and the album lacks cohesion. Isaacs comes from a singer/songwriters background, whereas Navarro and co develop ideas by jamming, and it doesn't take a musicologist to hear which songs originated from their rehearsal space and which came from the isolation of Isaacs bedroom.
Only 'Bloody Mary' comes close to the perfect compromise, written after Isaacs read Navarro's 'Don't Try This at Home' autobiography, detailing his harrowing year of drug addiction. Isaacs supplying the tracks big chorus and the downbeat, cheerless verses is taken care of by his band mates for their most convincing effort.
So in the end, 'One' sounds like a diluted version of 'Strays' (Jane's Addictions reunion album), which sounded like a diluted version of the classic Jane's line up anyway, and the result is the kind of American mainstream radio rock-fodder that was on its deathbed ten years ago. Nothing special.