Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I have to admit having felt some cynicism (and even dread) over the prospect of a new Alice In Chains album. Jerry Cantrell was the band's leader, but without the late Layne Staley, how could there be an AIC? Very few bands have been able to pull off replacing a lead singer: the better idea seems to be what the guys from Mother Love Bone or Joy Division did: stick together, and form a new band (Pearl Jam and New Order, respectively).

But I recently bought the new single, "A Looking In View" on iTunes, and have to admit it was really great. Tonight, I went to a preview of the album put on by the band's new label, Virgin Records. It was like being in a time warp in a way: the label rented out a large theater in the New York Times building (couldn't have been cheap) for an actual album that hasn't been leaked, and lots of people showed up. As soon as I got home, I went to the band's website and watched the video for the song, which other than some nudity, looks poised for Headbanger's Ball and maybe even 120 Minutes.

Anyway, the best song I heard was called "California," and it's maybe as good as anything they've ever done. A lot of times it sounds like Layne himself is singing, and when you listen to the album, you realize how much of the vocals were actually Jerry's.

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