What happens when one of the most revolutionary and skilled guitarists of the past ten years (and longer) departs from one of the most ground-stomping bands of all time? That was the question when, during their two year hiatus, John Frusciante left the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a second time. Would this be the end of the band? Obviously not, as the band have gone ahead and released their tenth album of totally new material with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. However, not all is lost, far, far from that. As a big friend of Frusciante's, Klinghoffer was a member of band Ataxia with Frusciante, accompanied the Chili's on tour as a second guitarist for Stadium Arcadium and used his axe skills on John's solo album The Empyrean. At only 31 years of age, he is the youngest member of the band by close to 20 years. This induction of youth has seemed to add something totally new to the chili peppers. A poppier edge yes, but not a bad thing as such, just a different sound to previous efforts.
First single "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie" was an initial slow-burner. Starting with Chad and Flea's trademark drum and bass pound, before, with a few opening strums from Josh, Kiedis opens up that all too familiar voice we know and love. With an extremely uplifting choral section, this song was an ideal first single for the band. It presents the statement "we're here, we're back and we can still do it after all this time." It becomes apparent that unlike Frusciante, Klinghoffer seems to take a back seat for the majority of the album. The guitar tends to mostly fill only the right hand side of the musical soundscape. Josh is stylistically like his idol and mentor, but less about the riffs. Saying that, "Goodbye Hooray" shows that the guy can still shred. Opener "Monarchy Of Roses" shows the band tuning up, plenty of feedback and wines in the guitar section. This is followed by a grungey/sabbathy groan from the lead guitar before everything gets stereotypically positive in the world of RHCP for the chorus. "Factory Of Faith" starts with a straight-up bass groove from Flea and some tongue twisting lyrics "All my life I was swinging for the fence, I was looking for the trip never playing good defence". Kiedis shows himself once again, as one singer who has a voice that is affected by the worn and torn nature of drugs, touring and rock n roll, but it has evolved and improved in every way. As has his writing. The song ends on a flurry of guitar and electro. "Brendans Death Song" has been pegged as one of the singles to be released from the album. The lyrical content is about Brendan Muller who founded The Masque, a punk rock club that was important in the early LA punk scene. As young musicians, Flea and Anthony had approached Muller with their demo and seeing their energy had put them on a slot opening for Bad Brains. Due to his support in the early days, RHCP are where they are today and this is their homage to the man himself, who passed away in early 2010. The news reached the band members as they were about to play their first rehearsal with their new guitarist, Josh. According to various members, they began playing in silence after hearing the news and constructed the building blocks for the song. Set to a march-style rhythm, it is not depressing, but a celebration of Brendan's life. "Ethiopia" is a funky number, set straight in the single vein. A vocal- layered chorus presents us with a new vocal range, thanks to Josh's use of falsetto- one which Frusciante could not master.
All in all this album will need a few listens to unlock its true potential, however, it is a great comeback from a band who's number could have easily been up. Release date 29/08/11