Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Getaway (Warner Bros.) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 12th, 2020  

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Getaway

Warner Bros.

Jul 21, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Though now a more polarizing band than at any other time in their history (cue "that" Nick Cave quote getting pulled out at any available opportunity by haters), there's clearly still much love in the world for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Which made it all the more unfortunate when 2011's I'm With You was such a meek, over-diluted pastiche of the blend of funk, dirt, and sex that made them such a globe-spanning act in the '90s and '00s. It was the sound of a band growing up, sure. But growing up in an entirely stultified manner; the maturity toning down their spice to an almost irrelevant tingle.

As a response to the generally disappointing critical and commercial reception of that album, it would have been all too easy for RHCP to revert back to Factory Setting-overstuffed funk and overblown rhetoric. But instead, the band have turned to producer Danger Mouse and chose to express their middle-aged doubt, uncertainty, and fears in an entirely different way. And the resultsurprisingly and pleasinglyis their best record in over a decade. Shot through with a sense of sadness at times and acquaintances gone by ("Feasting on the Flowers" is a genuinely touching tribute to former guitarist Hillel Slovak), the album benefits from Danger Mouse's reinvention of their sound into something fresh and contemporary. Yes, the bass still slaps and staccato rhythms still poke through regularly but they are tempered by nuances of synth, subtle hip-hop rhythms, and string and piano arrangements that temper the sound. Lead single "Dark Necessities" is a fine example of this meeting of styles but the best exploration of it is found on the excellent "Dreams of a Samurai," which blends some superb drumming from Chad Smith with a fuzzed and swirling trip down the psychedelic rabbit hole. The band sound refreshed, relevant, and inspired heremore so than at any time in recent years.

The biggest problem with RHCP still remains Anthony Kiedis' frat-boy lyrics, which aside from the aforementioned tracks still lean heavily on cliché and uncomfortably crude sexual references, sitting utterly and awkwardly at odds with their new-found sense of musical maturity. This remains the biggest anchor on the record but there's no doubt the band seem to be having fun here and with the intelligent and articulate guidance of Danger Mouse, The Getaway is generally a surprising successthe sound of a band having the intelligence to know when the time has come to move on and having the skill to actually achieve it. Where next? It'd be a fool who predicted but also a fool who would write them off. After a decade and a half of clichéd sterility, they sound potent again. (www.redhotchilipeppers.com)  

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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