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Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Getaway

Nenad Georgievski By

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All the surface evidence on The Getaway suggests that the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, for most part, is steering its music towards unfamiliar territory. This change of sound first began on I'm With You, (Warner Bros. 2011) the first recording the band did without one of its key members, guitarist John Frusciante who left to pursue solo career. Instead, his protégé Josh Klinghoffer took over guitar duties and provided more layered guitarscapes. I'm With You (Warner Bros. 2011) was a good album and obviously a stepping stone towards another exciting chapter in the band's illustrious career.

The second change came with acquiring the talent of studio wizard Danger Mouse after more than two decades of collaborating with legendary producer Rick Rubin who has helped them do all the albums starting from the iconic Blood Sugar Sex Magic. (Warner Bros. 1991) Working with producer Danger Mouse, who is one of the most sought after producers and who has produced albums by artists such as The Black Keys, U2 or Damon Albarn's Gorillaz, The Peppers' are heading for more subtle and craftier record. Also, another key ingredient to the sound changes is Radiohead's producer Nigel Godrich who took over mixing duties.

The Getaway contains all of the group's hallmarks—an outstanding rhythm section that drives the songs at various speeds and fueled by dense interwoven funky riffs. But the studio trickery and guidance provided by Danger Mouse is navigating the band's established sound towards widening the album's general scope. As a result, this record is not loaded with obvious hits. Instead, it's a varied and engaging collection of songs.The opening title track is a funky and playful gem, but vocally it's like paying homage to the late singer Prince's "When Doves Cry." The perfectly pitched vocal chant by Anna Waroncker in the background makes it sound unusual, but nevertheless, it adds depth. The way the band plays on this song is an example how to execute an intricately multi-tracked song to auditory perfection. "Dark Necessities," the album's pilot single, is built on a "Can't Stop"-styled riff, but soon melodies flourish and the song is in full blossom.

At heart, the album is a highly personal set of songs and lyrically there are hints of relationship issues all throughout. "The Longest Wave" is a gentle soulful song that builds on Josh's melodic guitar musings while "Goodbye Angels"is a tour de force of a song. "Go Robot" is one of the standout tracks on this record along with "Sick Love," a track co-written with singer Elton John and who plays piano here. With its propulsive beats and synths, "Go Robot" sounds like a Daft Punk-styled nod towards retro '80s pop. For most part, the sound of the album is lush and imaginative, and it doesn't suffocate nor irritate with too much information. The arrangements breathe and flow. On the other hand, some songs like "Encore" and "The Hunter" sound too cheesy and predictable. But The Getaway is a record that seeks to build, and it reaches a monumental peak at its closure with the "Dreams of a Samurai."

In a way, with this record, RHCP has found a way forward, a way to deepen its music without compromising its identity. Every detail concerning the songs, starting from the playing to the production, is executed flawlessly. On The Getaway the band is delivering an addictive pop rock with plenty of ideas, energy and substance that will echo long after they had been heard.

Track Listing: The Getaway; Dark Necessities; We Turn Red; The Longest Wave; Goodbye Angels; Sick Love; Go Robot; Feasting on the Flowers; Detroit; This Ticonderoga; Encore; The Hunter; Dreams of a Samurai.

Personnel: Flea: bass (1-11, 13), piano, backing vocals, trumpet (12); Anthony Kiedis: lead vocals; Chad Smith: drums, percussion; Josh Klinghoffer: guitars, bass (12), backing vocals, keyboards; Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton: mellotron (3), organ (8) synthesizers on tracks (1, 5, 6, 7, 13); Elton John: piano (6); Mauro Refosco: percussion (6, 7); Anna Waronker: additional vocals (1); Beverley Chitwood: vocal solo (13)

Title: The Getaway | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Warner Bros.

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