I was a little bit apprehensive about giving the new Red Hot Chili Peppers a spin; after their last effort, which was a lemon overall in this fan’s mind, I really crossed them off as over-the-hill and fading.
I’m happy to say that I was wrong! There is a LOT more music left in the Chili’s and perhaps the biggest factor is Josh who has finally stepped out of John’s monster shadow to play his own brand of bluesy-rock-funk on guitar. He absolutely owns Sick Love and drives the song from beginning to end – pounding it through dizzying heights with his stunning solo in the end. He leaves a haunting trail across The Hunter, an incredibly atmospheric ballad with rich textures, and plays touching melodies over the funky Flea bass in The Getaway (the impressive opener and the album namesake).
And speaking of Flea, the hyperkinetic bundle of energy sure hasn’t slowed down judging from his signature slap in the single Dark Necessities.
But he does slow down – and he slows down magnificently in Encore an infectious thumping ballad that will grab your ear on the first spin.
The fact that I haven’t even mentioned Anthony and Chad is a compliment to their usual rock solid contribution. The guys pump out the soon-to-be-dance-hit Go Robot with the greatest of ease, highlighting that the gamble has paid off using Danger Mouse and Radiohead as producers.
I’ll leave this quick review with a little bit of a downer: Is this their best album? No, Uplift Mofo, By the Way and Blood Sugar were superior. But it’s just as good as Californication (which is a BIG call). This album is simply the best thing they have pieced together in a long time i.e. their last 2 efforts (and certainly better than the rest of their other albums). And who knows? This album grows on you like white air with age.
But let’s forgive the guys for their last effort as Josh was kinda fresh. After all, John sounded like he tried a little too much in Mothers Milk (his debut). Josh is doing just fine…and so are the rest of the guys!
Josh is doing just fine…and so are the rest of the guys!
8 out of 10
n.b. I initially gave this a 7 out of 10, but with a couple more listens, the ease, cohesion and depth of the songs really grow on you.
The Dark Necessities video is such a great strategic video in that (a) it gives them street cred, (b) they let the younger generation take center stage (therefore allowing them to connect in a more fluent way…not to mention that it allows them to concentrate on their music) and (c) it showcases the subculture in LA.
I’m feeling fresh with those bruises the girls showcased in the vid – reminds me of when I used to hit the street. Perhaps I should take a leaf out of the RHCP book and plot my return.