Dave Navarro's monumental past looms like the giant black obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Any solo project he attempts is measured against his accomplishments with Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Luckily Navarro doesn't fall into the trap of trying to craft a clever, sonic response to his weighty discography on his solo debut, Trust No One.
The tension between the melodic, acoustic intro and the guitar squall that ultimately follows on the album's opening track, "Rexall," sets the tone for the remainder of the album, as Navarro utilizes the contrast to maximum effect in both the sonic and emotional structures of each song. "Hungry" finds him dropping in bits of programmed skronk that suggests Beckish manipulation, but he never loses sight of the massive groove or hard-rock center he's been perfecting since Jane's Addiction's first album. The ultimate peek at Navarro's carbon heart comes with his densely swirling cover of the Velvets' "Venus in Furs," the perfect soundtrack to his dark and frenetic existence.
Trust No One is more than Navarro's first solo album. It is quite literally a rite of passage for the guitarist, a purging of many of the demons that have plagued him throughout his career and his life. He straddles light and dark, loud and soft, fear and contentment, and life and death as he flips through the pages of his horrific, sonic scrapbook, lingering on the images that have made the greatest impact. Musically, few outright surprises exist on Trust No One, as Navarro creates a soundscape that is familiar without being derivative and captures the visceral tone at the heart of his story. Lyrically Navarro has pried open his soul in an effort to find personal salvation, a quest that could be callously perceived in the graceless factory that produces contemporary pop music. Few rock icons could pull off this balancing act without sounding either unnecessarily empty or overly bombastic. With Trust No One, Navarro offers his listeners a glimpse of his dark muse with no apology and no guarantee of enlightenment, either for them or for himself.
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