Chili Peppers fans were devastated when legendary guitarist, John Frusciante, left the band for a second time in 2009. He also left the band in 1992 and rejoined the group in 1998. With Frusciante the quartet released their most critically acclaimed albums, ‘Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic’ and ‘Californication’. When news spread that the remaining members of the band, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith and Flea had acquired the services of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (long-time friend and musical aid for the band) to be their new axe player, fans could be forgiven for not being as excited as some might have hoped.
John was seen as the main creative force in the band and viewed as irreplaceable by many fans. So the band had a lot to prove to themselves and their audience. Surprisingly, the band has done something amazing. They have recorded a collection of songs that are worthy of their musical legacy, without their former ‘wunderkind’. On ‘I am With You’ the band sounds fresh and reinvigorated. Josh’s parts sit subtly behind Flea’s bass lines, which take centre stage. Tracks like ‘Factory of Faith’, ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ and ‘Ethiopia’ are laced with clever guitar licks, effects and infectious grooves. Moments of poignancy can be found in the tribute ‘Brendan’s Death Song’ and Anthony’s quirky, hook-laden melodies are as good as ever. Flea’s study of piano and composition during the band’s hiatus after their last album seems to be paying off as he directs the band into new musical ideas in songs such as ‘Happiness Loves Company’.
Overall, this is a strong release and the band can feel proud that they have managed to create something special together in spite of John’s departure and confirm that they are still one of the greatest bands around.
Listen to the first single off of the album: Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Released: 26th August 2011
Producer: Rick Rubin
Genre: Alternative Rock, Funk Rock, Psychedelic Rock