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POP MUSIC | *** 1/2, PORNO FOR PYROS, "Good God's Urge",
Warner Bros. | RECORD RACK

The Real Perry Finally Seems to Stand Up

May 26, 1996|Steve Hochman and Hear Porno for Pyros and To hear excerpts from Porno for Pyros' album "Good God's Urge," call TimesLine at 808-8463 and press *5724. and In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

Meet Perry Bernstein. You know him by his stage persona, Perry Farrell, master manipulator of art and culture and image. But on his current band's second album, the alternative icon-iconoclast--former leader of Jane's Addiction, founder of Lollapalooza, etc.--finally presents what appears to be the real Perry.

Gone are the arty postures and self-conscious confessions that, while often compelling, could also be distancing. Instead, this album seems to unfold from deep inside Farrell, while drummer Stephen Perkins, guitarist Peter Distefano and guests including Mike Watt and Flea help rein in the loose quasi-world-music ends of Porno's 1993 debut.

Farrell's still out on the periphery, though, exploring musical textures (from the ambient-folk of "Thick of It All" to the percussive rock of "Dogs Rule the Night," the most Jane's-like selection here) and bleating idiosyncratic lyrics. But that's all grounded in an open, personal attitude. In "Kimberly Austin," he sweetly sings about seeing his mother (who committed suicide when he was young) in the eyes of a woman, while the title song is at first a prayerful and then insistent plea to heaven on behalf of his aging father.

It may not be the gut-wrenching revelation of John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band" or Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night," but it's a warm embrace from an artist who has learned to revel in life and wants to share.

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