I’m With You
BGM RATING 000
It’s not altogether ironic that the Red Hot Chili Peppers began life as a thrown-together jam band whose only ambition was to funk the night away on a mainly improvised set in 1983. We all do things just for fun, right? Yet some 65 million album sales later the Chilis have outlived many more of their more obviously saleable contemporaries, indoctrinating countless listeners into their strange post-P Funk punk-edged rock soundworld with its frenetic trademark elements. These include Anthony Kiedis’s indecipherable surrealist lyrics and shouty choruses, Flea’s stadium-sized basslines and licks, always front and centre, Chad Smith’s hyper-funk drum attack, and … er … several guitarists of world-class pedigree. It’s the latter issue that makes this not just the Chilis’tenth album to date but also latest axe-slinging recruit Josh Klinghoffer’s recording debut. Thus the arrival of I’m With You is something of a strange event, neither one that merits huge celebration or despair – yet begs the question: should we be happy that they didn’t throw in the towel after feeling burnt out after their 2006 world tour and the departure of edgy guitar star John Frusciante? The current band sounds vital and far more youthful than their 28-year existence should allow, yet with Klinghoffer often playing it straight, rather than firing too many glitchy sonic spanners into the works, it’s Flea’s often highly dexterous basslines that dominate, which is great for his fans but not always for the song. Packed as it is with great playing but bereft of a surplus of killer tunes, I’m With You lacks the fire of prime Chilis performances or their outre pop brilliance. The fans will love it but new recruits may beg to differ.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
I’M WITH YOU (WARNER BROS.)
It was a good year for venerable institutions. And, just as Wills ‘n’ Kate’s nuptials breathed new life into the monarchy, so a new album – their first with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer -reinvigorated RHCP. Comendably, I’m With You raged against the dying of the light by harking back to the Californication glory days. Bow ye down.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS:
I’m With You (Warner Bros)
RETURNING after five years (and with a new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer), the Chili Peppers strike some familiar funk and jazz-rock poses on this tenth album. Look Around finds the band on auto-pilot, but Did I Let You Know, with its Latin trumpet solo, is a delightful sonic experiment and Meet Me At the Corner is the kind of rielodic rocker they do best.