A stubborn nature and a love for music has seen another altered Red Hot Chili Peppers produce their long awaited 10th album. Their latest effort, I’m With You, is riddled with new flavour and unexplored potential which would require a flexible Peppers fan for true appreciation.
While Anthony Kiedis boast lyrics as big as any, Flea pulls out some of his funkiest bass riffs to date, and Chad Smith keeps deep rhythmic time flawlessly; all eyes remain on the newcomer. The loss of lead guitarist John Frusciante in 2009 has opened the door for Josh Klinghoffer to involve himself with a piece of musical history.
The question “Do you like it rough I ask / are you up to task”, asked by Kiedis in the first song, is perhaps an introduction. “Monarchy of Roses” opens the album with the sound of a distorted guitar meshing with a drum beat as if to start a casual jam session. The ripping guitar chords are soon interrupted by Kiedis’ clear melodic voice, leading the song into the catchy chorus. Klinghoffer shows a dynamic clean side to his talent in songs like “Did I let you know,” and “Brendan’s Death Song.”
Flea may take a while to demonstrate his unfading bass skills on the first song but is unarguably the most noticeable sound on I’m With You. Songs like “Factory of Faith,” “Ethiopia,” are opened with the signature dirty funk sounds that Flea has become so well known for.
Kiedis once again tells his tales of personal adventure and grievance but pulls it off with brutal honesty. “Brendan’s Death Song” pays tribute to his close friend and L.A. club owner Brendan Mullen. “Annie Wants a Baby,” boasts the lyrics “Can’t get sunshine / She likes the taste of it / She had a goldmine / But then she wasted it away.”
While the album is different in a ‘Peppers’ sense, it is still a creation of musical genius. The bands resilience in a situation which could have ended them, has forced a change of direction in their musical approach, but it has certainly not lessened the pure quality of their work. The Peppers have proved to be a band which is stronger than a single member, and created a genuine piece of art through their natural gifts and tenacity. As a true fan it is important to add that it may take more than a single listen to fully appreciate this complex album.
The Peppers first single off the new album shows that they have not lost any of the energy which they have become so well known for