Rolling Stone - 3/24/94, p.953.5 stars
- Very Good - "...darkly gorgeous...."
Spin - 1/27/94, p.68
"...Alice in Chains has broken out of its trademark art-metal grind with the seven-song EP JAR OF FLIES, the band's warmest, most relaxed record ever...."
Q - 2/94, p.934 Stars
- Excellent - "...there's something deadly serious about the misery, rage and disgust that fuels them. Quite simply, they sound like they're playing for keeps....a powerfully suffocating album about powerlessness...."
Melody Maker - 1/22/94, p.33
"...This is metal transposed into dream time....It's the real deal...."
Alice In Chains: Layne Staley (vocals); Jerry Cantrell (guitar, vocals); Mike Inez (bass, guitar, background vocals); Sean Kinney (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Rebecca Clemons-Smith, Matthew Weiss (violin); April Acevez (viola); Justine Foy (cello); David Atkinson (harmonica); Randy Biro, Darrel Peters (background vocals).
Recorded at London Bridge Studio, Seattle, Washington on September 7-14, 1993.
"I Stay Away" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance in the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
The CD-Plus version of JAR OF FLIES contains all the tracks on the original album along with lyrics, portions of songs from earlier albums, full-length videos of "I Stay Away" and "No Excuses," video interviews with band members, a complete biography, band photos and clips from radio interviews.
Alice In Chains: Layne Staley (vocals); Jerry Cantrell (vocals, guitar); Mike Inez (guitar, bass, background vocals); Sean Kinney (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel includes: Rebecca Clemons-Smith, Matthew Weiss (violin); Justine Foy (violin, cello); April Acevez (viola); David Atkinson (harmonica); Randy Biro, Darrel Peters (background vocals).
Principally recorded at London Bridge Studio, Seattle, Washington from September 7-14, 1993.
Throughout Alice In Chain's body of work, an aura of menace and evil permeates the songs in a deceptively sinister way. JAR OF FLIES is their second EP (the first was SAP), and although they return to more of an unplugged, Alice In Chains Lite sound (as opposed to their usual waves of crashing distortion and dive-bombing leads), it's far from being a polite, poppy record.
Collectively, the group goes out on a much more experimental limb. "Swing On This" has a faux-jazz groove to it with newest member Mike Inez's stand-up bass goosing along the rhythm section. "Rotten Apple" opens the album with an eerie, foreboding harmonica played through a chamber. As always, front man Layne Staley's lyrics deal with displacement, disillusionment and fighting with one's sense of self, particularly in the moving "Don't Follow." To further liven things, Alice In Chains use a string section as a major facet of "I Stay Away," building it up into a Wagnerian crescendo at the end of the song.