I have to admit that I had no idea who Eric Avery was. It wasn’t until I searched his name that I found out he was the original bassist for Jane’s Addiction. Small world, right?
Now that I’ve clued you all in to how uncool I really am, let’s see if I can somehow rectify my lapse in rock history. It’s been over twenty years since his former band’s self-titled debut album in 1987, and Avery has finally gotten around to recording his first solo album after dabbling in the other side projects Deconstruction and Polar Bear.
Help Wanted doesn’t sound like any thing contemporary, and it definitely has an eighties (and a touch of European) feel to it. I’m not sure you can classify it as stoner rock, but Avery’s brand of mellow rock would definitely strike a chord for those craving midnight munchies, as in “Build The Fire” with the lyrics “kill with a pill all of the dreams, he lights / his dark room by each night.”
Avery’s somewhat depressed and repressed vocals complement his moody, yet casual lyrics and melodies.
There are a few songs that display an overarching ethereal state of mind. I don’t know if he was trying to sound omnipotent in his brief snapshot of Planet Earth circa 2008, but “Revolution” deals with more than just war and globalization. Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage (who helped co-wrote the song), joins Avery on the lovelorn “Maybe,” which sounds like something a darker, more broody Enya would make.
But not all sound so gloomy and twisted, even if they truly are. The album’s second half adds both tempo and charm, apparent in the slightly punkish and carnival-esque “Walk Through Walls (The Man Who Can Fly Pt. 5),” as well as the very smooth “Chicken Bone (The Man Who Can Fly Pt. 2).”
Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) also make guest appearances on Eric Avery’s long awaited solo debut. Avery might have wanted help, as his album title suggests, but he totally didn’t need any.