Intense and thick with guitar
Keep the Light on, Hurt a Long Time, Cold Piece, My Song
An impressive solo project suggesting Cantrell more than holds the cards in Alice In Chains. If it weren't for the absence of Layne Staley's nasal braying (and the shadow of the singer's rumored drug problems), Boggy Depot could pass for a new Alice In chains album. After all, AIC's drummer Sean Kinney plays on 10 of 12 tracks, AIC bassist Mike Inez picks on three, and, as guitarist/singer/songwriter Jerry Cantrell ably demonstrates here, its his voice and harmonies that have given AIC much of its recognizable sound. Cantrell's lyrical themes and melodic leanings here reflect the downbeat edginess rampant in AIC music. But what makes Boggy Depot more than an AIC side project is the sheer intensity of Cantrells' efforts. Should it have ever been in question. Boggy Depot confirms Cantrell's status as a genuine 90's guiatr hero. It's not that the album is filled with guitar exhibitionism, if anything Cantrell seems too absorbed in his multi-layered arrangements, seeming to forget to solo where it seems appropriate. There's little of technical or virtuostic merit in Cantrell's style, it's the feeling and strength of his playing that stand out. What marks this album is the depth of Cantrell's work - the songs, the arrangements, the singing, and the playing are all equally weighted. While the album opening "Dickeye" boats the big-guitar rage of classic AIC music, Boggy Depot soon evolves into a more subtle creature, with moody songs like "Settling Down" displaying a sense of optimism often absent from his band's tunes. Elsewhere, Cantrell mixes churning rock with acoustic-based tracks like the intense but unburdened "Hurt a Long Time", more experimental cuts like the warp-voice "Breaks My Back" with its jazz tingedguitar fills, and drawn out difficult melodies like those of "Jesus Hands" and "Satisfy". Cantrell even seems to be having a bit of pop fun on "Between", perhaps urged on by guest basist Les Claypool, who also appears on the strange funk dream of "Cold Piece" This final song stretches out in its eight minute plus, as if the end Cantrell seems finally satisfied and relaxed with his solo venture, this potential quagmire at the Boggy Depot that, instead is the guitarist's welcome solo arrival.