Thursday, 25 August 2011
Label Warner Bros.
Producers Rick Rubin
There has been a long hiatus for the Red Hot Chili Peppers between their last album, released in 2006, and this newest release. It's been a time of upheaval for the band, with lead guitarist John Frusciante leaving (again), to be replaced by Josh Klinghoffer. It's a perilous time for a comeback.
The first thing to note is that the band is definitely missing something without Frusciante. You don't lose arguably the best guitarist of a generation without noticing. Indeed the band appears to have lost some of their edge.
Album opener Monarchy of Roses typifies everything that the band has become known for; the duality between the dirtier funk stylings and the more melodic, soaring chorus. It's a hopeful and exciting start to the new era.
Unfortunately the next track Factory of Faith is more representative of this particular album. Awfully repetitive and frankly bland, this track sounds more like a parody of incredibly phoned in, inspiration-less funk.
Indeed much of the album seems to consist either of similar songs like this or more uncharacteristically low-fi rock like Brendan's Death Song and Meet Me at the Corner, the likes of which are perfectly listenable, but again, strangely flavourless for the band.
However there are brighter moments, including the typically radio-friendly lead single The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie, which features the classic RHCP funk/melody combination and one of Flea's classic swaggering bass lines.
Meanwhile, Did I Let You Know becomes one of the surprise highlights of the album with it's sunny demeanour and multi-vocalist chorus, while Happiness Loves Company is a delightfully bouncy throwback to the 1970s. Also worthy of note is the laid back Police Station, this album's answer to Californication.
In the end, I'm With You seems to be more about the band finding it's footing following the recent shake up and time out. The album as a whole is mercifully less sprawling than their last effort, the two-disk Stadium Arcadium, but it feels unfortunately lacking in memorable tracks. Their are some fine songs here to be sure, but they are few and far between, and overall, not of a high enough quality to stack up next to the band's back catalogue.
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Happiness Loves Company
Did I Let You Know