06/2006 Total Guitar



RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros)

Who they? Former funky monkeys who became great rock apes following the release of their ultra-successful Californication (1999) and By The Way (2002) albums. Stadium Arcadium, the band’s ninth studio album, is a whopping 28-track double disc set, produced by their long-running collaborator Rick Rubin in the same house where they recorded their 1991 breakthrough Bloodsugarsexmagic.

Any good? Stadium Arcadium sees guitarist John Frusciante let loose like never before. If By The Way delivered a masterclass in melodic restraint, Stadium finds him resurrecting the wah-drenched spirit of Hendrix, peppering many tracks with frenzied blues freakouts mixed so high they positively burst from the speakers. At other times there’s nods to Led Zeppelin, Oasis and The Eagles yet, despite Frusciante’s fireworks, 28 tracks proves a bridge too far even by the Chilis standards with at least half a dozen of the tracks here sounding like filler.

Must hear: Torture Me’s thrashy riff and deranged shred solo. Tell Me Baby, a squelchy pop song complete with Hendrix-y wailing. Readymade’s massive 1970s rock groove and Turn It Again’s thunderous guitar outro.

Why buy? For Frusciante’s pyrotechnics alone, Stadium Arcadium is a must for guitar fans. Buyers beware, though: there’s over two hours of material here and it’s not all killer. As the band’s diminutive singer Anthony Kiedis should know, size doesn’t matter. Next time the Chilis would do well to remember it’s not necessarily how big your album is, but what you do with it that counts.

Phil Ascott


For fans of: Jimi Hendrix, Free, Funkadelic

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