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Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway

How the Peppers Escaped the Critical Mass

“Every true artist is at war with the world.”
― Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue

You’re cruising down Venice Beach on a moonlit night: hair blowing in the breeze, sweat clinging to your skin, a smoke clenched tight between your teeth. The intro to “Dark Necessities“ kicks in, and you know deep in your heart a truth that burns eternal:

It’s all about that bass.

Iconic psychedelic funk-rock legends, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, and the Kings of California: the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally released their 11th LP after a tense four-year wait.

These legends of positive vibes had a lot to make up for with their latest album, following in the footsteps of I’m with You (2011) an album that even the most generous of fans were deeply troubled by.

And damn did they manage it.

Bassist Flea. Photo by Rafael Amado Deras

The Getaway is a return to the Peppers at their finest; side-slapping solos, body-moving rhythms and mood-hopping riffs punctuated by those most versatile fingers ever to take up a G-string; Flea.

All the while it’s interspersed with the voice of Anthony Kiedis, who manages polarising vocals that are passionate and melancholy, soulful and at times jumping for joy.

Even while returning to the riffs that made them what they are today, they were certainly not afraid to get creative with their new refrains. The guitar style of the newest addition to the band, Josh Klinghoffer, definitely came through in several solos throughout the album, putting his unique spin on the funk reprisals and familiar rap-rock the Peppers have become synonymous with.

“As beautiful as John’s shoes were, I don’t think that we ever expected Josh to be like him – just bring out some new shoes. Josh has incredible footwear.” – Anthony Kiedis, Q Magazine

The album signals a new direction for the band, with production and co-writing by “Danger-Mouse” Burton, and the replacement of legendary guitarist John Frusciante.

This is not, however, a story of youthful abandonment. There is a darker narrative to The Getaway, told directly through “Dark Necessities” and “We Turn Red”, which tells a story of recovery and harsh reality for the critics they disdain.

These beats are a return to the years of Blood Sugar Sex Majik and Stadium Arcadium; the years of drugged-out funk, taken from the perspective of a sober mind.

These are the anthems of ageing Californian rockers come home.

The Getaway is the first album to go into detail about their new state of mind, encapsulated by strong, funk-rock tunes. The blues of “Go Robot”, and the wistful tone of a lost youth in “Dreams of a Samurai”, show not only the growth of talented musicians, but a personal story gripped with the despair of those who reached the brink of insanity and clawed their way back.

I’m still a little bent, a little crooked, but all things considered, I can’t complain.”
― Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue

An album full of body moving, funky Californian rhythms contrasted by deeper tunes that are, at times, a sobering reflection of where they are as band; older, wiser, and still damn near unstoppable.

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