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Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway (Album Review)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 Written by Graeme Marsh

Red Hot Chili Peppers rarely seem to live a dull moment. Lately, singer Anthony Kiedis has resuscitated a baby, wrestled with James Corden and found himself admitted to hospital with complications from intestinal flu. Bassist Flea, meanwhile, broke his arm while snowboarding and faced a long period of rehab. Amid all this we have ‘The Getaway’, their 11th album and the follow up to 2011’s ‘I’m With You’.

It represents a significant new step too, with producer Rick Rubin not involved after a 25 year association with the band. Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton delivers missives from the worlds of pop and hip-hop from behind the controls on this occasion, bringing with him a hazy new approach, while mixing duties fall to long-time Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich.

The superb lead single, Dark Necessities, gives a glimpse into this new direction while remaining firmly identifiable as a Chilis track. Foreboding piano leads into a funky bassline and clapping percussion in an exhilarating cut that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the collection. It’s one of only a few moments where everything seems to come together perfectly.

The title track is a sparse, summery effort with pristine clarity, while the hugely enjoyable Go Robot blends funk with a good guitar solo, excellent chorus and gentle synths. It’s one of the tracks most obviously influenced by Burton.

Sick Love’s mellow verses are rescued by its impressive chorus, which is a frustrating trait possessed by the record. The subdued Encore is another example of this disparity, with its captivating hooks crying out for more attention. The Longest Wave also suffers from drab, meandering verses before being bailed out come chorus time.

Despite the change in personnel, it’s clear that there’s little risk taking going on. Feasting On The Flowers is very safe and uneventful, ending abruptly rather than with a flourish. The Hunter, meanwhile, could belong to a different band entirely, its anthemic chorus failing to save the day. The closer, Dreams of Samurai, threatens to go prog rock before taking off in spectacular style. This is more like it, we nod, but it’s a case of too little too late.

‘The Getaway’ is bursting at the seams with some of the best choruses the Chilis have ever committed to tape and, hand on heart, there’s nothing terribly wrong with any of the songs here. But, time and again, melodies come and go without making the sort of impression you feel they are capable of, instead being left to flounder. ‘The Getaway’ falls agonisingly short of what it could have been.


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