not the sound of a dripping tap, but 15 rather depressed lo-fi tunes
from Red Hot Chili Peppers' notoriously errant guitarist. A veteran
of the needle and the damage done, Frusciante has authored two previous
solo albums - strange and fractured visions of a man on the edge
- and his recent cleaned-up-and-revved-up return to the Peppers
after a four-year absence has been credited with revitalising the
band's career. For proof that the man is on a creative roll, one
need look no further than this.
himself from the walking back catalogue of horrible hair that is
Anthony Kiedis appears to bring out Frusciante's solemn, tuneful
side. The record is both labour of love and exorcism - Frusciante
plays every instrument himself and every song is, without exception,
pointedly self-analytical and emotionally probing. This, combined
with Frusciante's ropey but breath-catchingly fraught voice, can
make for uncomfortable listening. Nevertheless, there remains an
underlying optimism and fondness for unapologetically pretty melodies
that imparts a redeeming and lasting warmth.
lyrical motifs of death and rebirth, Frusciante toys ably with sodden
blues, rambling alt-country and sweet psychedelia, twisting them
all into personalised, storytelling shapes. His scope is as broad
as his mood is downbeat, moving from the spaced out and vaguely
creepy drone of 'Remain' to the huge Hüsker Dü debt evinced
in the brittle 'The First Season'. This is a man who has heard 'Too
Far Down', and understood it completely. Elsewhere, there are hints
of everything from Archers Of Loaf to Guided By Voices - and although
there is no evidence of the Peppers' characteristic cod-funk, one
suspects that the more tuneful moments of 'Californication' owe
much to Frusciante's sympathetic ear.
the one who captures what he lost/And turns it around", he
sings in the dreamy, restless 'Saturation'. This time, it sounds
like Frusciante is on the right track.