As it has been said before 1994 was beyond a great year for music. Riding high (no pun intended) off their masterpiece Dirt, Alice In Chains gathered in London Bridge Studio in Seattle, in September of 1993, just to see what they could come up with. A week later they had another gem on their hands. One of the most interesting things about Jar Of Flies was that they band never intended to release it, but their record company heard it and truly enjoyed it. When it was released Jar Of Flies became the first E.P. to debut at number 1 on the billboard charts. Since it’s release the album has gone on to sell over four million copies. Jar Of Flies was also the first Alice record to have Mike Inez on it. Kicking off things is “Rotten Apple” a very dark and deep song that delves further into the mind of Layne Staley. Musically this song has such a great structure. Jerry Cantrell’s ending guitar solo is strange yet fits perfectly. “Nutshell” is one of the most soulful deep songs that the band has ever released. The vulnerability and sheer pain of Layne is very present in this song. “I Stay Away” again taps into the darkness that surrounds the band. One of the best things about this song is that it shows off Layne’s range as a singer. The string arrangement really adds something special to the song. “No Excuses” is one of the bands biggest hits and a more upbeat song. As an instrumental “Whale and Wasp” acts as a little segue in the flow of the album. “Don’t Follow” continues on the path of dark and deep while reaching further into the soul. “Swing On This” offers up a more blues driven feel that has a bit of a country twang to it.
This album has always been a go to for me after ending a night on my way home or if ever I was feeling low. There is something beyond genuine and unrelenting about this piece of work. Every aspect of this record is done with the utmost precision. The subtle drums of Sean Kinney, the sultry bass lines of Mike Inez, the slick guitar work by Jerry Cantrell, and Layne Staley pouring his heart out really make this a masterpiece all on its own. It’s hard to believe that this is now 20 years old, and how good it still will be for years to come,