'By contrast with many of his peers, Farrell seems to have found a way out of the nihilistic cul-de-sac of grunge, and, just as important, found the most fascinating of musical routes'

Porno for Pyros, Good God's Urge, Warner Bros 9362-46172-2

After the full-tilt metal perversity of his Jane's Addiction albums, the Perry Farrell of Porno For Pyros' 1993 debut seemed subdued; not cowed, exactly, though the perversity was replaced by whimsicality. Good God's Urge extends that process further, revealing a more ozone-friendly Farrell comparatively replete with the joys of spring and goodwill to men. What has happened? Love, or something like it?

Perhaps. "Kimberley Austin" is as pure and simple a statement of affection as any you'll hear all year, while "100 Ways" eavesdrops on romantic reverie, the singer noting how "Birds fall in love right above my head/ They make the same kind of sounds you do when we're laying in my bed." Elsewhere, there is evidence of a new spirit of worldly acceptance in Farrell, almost a Zen-like calm in the face of potential harm. In "Tahitian Moon", his boat capsizes and he starts swimming to the shore, blissfully disinterested in whether he makes it back and just at one with the water and the moon.

The stately portent of "Thick of it All" reminds us that, whatever happens, there is no easy route through it, and we should learn to live with it, though Farrell still manages to capture the predicament in the spikiest of terms: "You thought you were Jesus, but you find out you're the anti- Christ/ You were born so you get another chance."

It's a remarkable change of attitude for a former junkie whose last gossip- column appearances centred on a crack binge in a Hollywood motel. At the time, he seemed trapped in an inexorable downward spiral; here, by contrast with many of his peers, Farrell seems to have found a way out of the nihilistic cul-de-sac of grunge, and just as important, found the most fascinating of musical routes. Augmented in places by various Red Hot Chili Peppers, former Bauhaus boys and Minuteman Mike Watt, these Porno For Pyros have crafted the first really successful meeting of guitar-rock and sampler, devising a swirling, oceanic flux of sound mixed to achieve a tenuous balance between song structure and chaotic info-flow: a sort of post-mod prog-rock. There are still occasional remnants of Farrell's old sturdy petulance, especially in the splintery funk-metal of "Freeway" and "Dogs Rule the Night", but most of the album is suffused with a benign glow of well-being. Comeback of the year.

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