Jerry Cantrell, guitarist and songwriter for Alice in Chains, breaks the chains from AiC and releases his first solo album, Boggy Depot. Although this is Cantrell’s solo album, it could easily pass for an AiC album — after all, AiC’s Sean Kinney and Mike Inez play drums and bass, respectively, for most of the record. Boggy Depot has the same grungy, guitar-thick feel to it as any AiC record, but Cantrell’s edgier voice and harmonies takes this album up by a notch, when compared to AiC albums characterized by the nasal braying of Layne Stanley.
As a guitarist, Cantrell only re-affirms his standing as a successful guitar player of this decade. Though this album does not exhibit any technical prowess or virtuosity, Cantrell promptly makes it up with the intensity of the music, and vibes. Boggy Depot features mostly multi-layered guitars and rhythms, leaving very little space for solos or lead guitars — it was a little disappointing to not have an instrumental track in a reputed guitar player’s solo effort (it must be really uncool to play guitar instrumentals today!). Guest artist Les Claypool, of Primus fame, plays bass on a little poppish “Between,” and funky “Cold Piece.”
Lyrically, the pessimistic attitude that AiC’s music is quite known for, is less noticed on Boggy Depot. There were even flickers of hope in “Settling Down”! High points: “Hurt a Long Time,” “Settling Down,” “Keep the Light On.”