The Glitz; The Glamour
Last Man Music
Perry Farrell stands as the godfather of alternative rock. His contributions to popular music are undeniable, so much so, that were it not for him and Jane’s Addition, the ‘90s rock explosions could have remained far more sublime rather than a complete flip from counterculture to mainstream. While he did not invent the genre, he was an essential part of bringing it to the forefront. To prove this, Farrell has released The Glitz; The Glamour, a massive, 35- year, career-spanning box set that includes his solo work throughout the decades, along with his music with bands Psi Com and Satellite Party. While Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros are notably absent from the collection, The Glitz; The Glamour firmly establishes Farrell’s legacy as one of alt rock’s most creative forces.
The Glitz; The Glamour opens with a series of five tracks from Psi Com, Farrell’s first band, before forming Jane’s Addiction. Both “Ho Ka Hey” and “Human Connection” carry a distinctive ‘80s alternative new wave flavour that sees Farrell’s vocals soar over ambient and distorted soundscapes, very much in tone with Siouxsie And The Banshees and Bahaus. This is the epitome of underground alternative rock from Los Angeles in the early ‘80s. The record continues with all off Farrell’s first true solo album, 2001’s electronically charged Song Yet To Be Sung, including highlights such as the title track, “Did You Forget”, “King Z” and “Admit I”.
Continuing with Farrell’s 2007 album with Satellite Party, Ultra Payload – which features performances from the likes of John Frusciante, Flea, Fergie, and an unearthed performance from Jim Morrison – The Glitz; The Glamour gets a jolt of energy with a strong modern alternative rock energy in tone with Farrell’s strongest work. Front to back, especially with songs like “Wish Upon A Dog Star”, “Hard Life Easy” (featuring a jaw dropping performance from Frusciante), “The Solutionists”, “Ultra Payloaded Satellite Party”, and “Woman In The Window”, Ultra Payload is a true lost gem among Farrell’s discography and a definite highlight within the boxset. When placed immediately after Ultra Payload, his electronic-alt-rock fusion 2019 album, Kind Heaven – with The Kind Heaven Orchestra and his wife, Etty Lau Farrell – feels far more contextualized and, despite over a decade separating them, the two albums complement each other, as if Kind Heaven was the direct spiritual successor to Ultra Payload.
The remaining half of The Glitz; The Glamour consists largely of remixes and rarities; the former of which remains far less exciting than the latter. Among the rarities lies a pair of singles Farrell wrote for various soundtracks (“Nasty Little Perv” and “Go All The Way (Into The Twilight)”) alongside “Rev” and Farrell’s electronic Zeppelin cover, “Whole Lotta Love” from his 1999 compilation album, Rev. Most excitingly, however, is the small selection of unreleased material. The first three, “Love Feedback”, “Cling To Life”, and “Vast Visitation”, were recorded with The Kind Heaven Orchestra and serve as a stellar companion to their 2019 work and should leave fans excited for the future of the group. Furthermore, “Vast Visitations” is a song Farrell composed around yet another unearthed Morrison vocal line and stands as a trippy, sonic hallucination. The final unreleased song comes in the form of a collaboration with Los Angeles-based alternative rock band, Starcrawler, and Foo Fighters’ drummer, Taylor Hawkins on “Turn Over The World”, ad upbeat rocker that feels equally nostalgic as it does fresh.
The Glitz; The Glamour is the deep dive into Farrell’s lesser known catalogue that super fans and collectors will love for its lavish vinyl pressing and bonus features within this monster boxset. Given the experimental nature of his songwriting and the periods in which much of the material originally comes from, there is an air of whimsy and sheer bizarre throughout this alternative odyssey. This is not Farrell the hit maker, nor the sultry, sauntering banshee at the helm of Jane’s Addiction; no, this is Farrell the creative, the experimenter, the artist. While The Glitz; The Glamour isn’t for everyone, it is certainly enjoyable to track the arc of Farrell’s creativity and to hear him develop as a vocalist and songwriter as he navigates the changing musical landscape; ultimately remaining a curiously unique and vitally important figure for popular music.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: PERRY FARRELL – THE GLITZ; THE GLAMOUR