Having released 11 albums in 33 years Red Hot Chili Peppers need little introduction. Very Few bands survive such a long tenure but Kiedis and Co. Have been through hell together and come out the other side producing some amazing records. To date, their most notable albums are 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magic and 1999’s Californication which both reinvented the bands sound for a new generation of listeners. They have never rushed to produce new material and The Getaway is no exception coming 5 years after their last studio release. This LP again, in spite of similarities with a handful of tracks from their back catalogue, is something of a reinvention.
I will cite myself as a RHCP fan but I, as I have been since Stadium Arcadium, find myself nonplussed by their new material. Firstly, there are a few holes to my ear as there are a few tracks that don’t flow. I don’t mean this in the respect of the album as a whole, but the tracks themselves. The issue being that these tracks have uncharacteristic pauses that aren’t so much pregnant as uncomfortable and on others, it’s as though they couldn’t quite work out a way to smoothly transition from the chorus to the verse and so just cut straight from one to the other such as on This Ticonderoga which goes from brutally heavy to light and poppy in 1/4 of a bar. Even at Flea’s incredible speed this is an impossible transition to pull off (or hammer on…)!
With a few exceptions, the remaining tracks are undoubtedly, characteristically, straightforward RHCP with Flea’s relentlessly funk driven bass and Kiedis’ distinctive vocals and poetic lyrics. It is unfortunate therefore, that they all lack the depth and texture to which we have become accustomed. The songs aren’t bad, they are just lacking a little je ne sais quoi (literally – I can’t quite put my finger on it). Perhaps it’s the quartet slowing down as three quarters of them are hitting their mid fifties, or maybe something else. Either way The Getaway lacks the passion of its predecessors. With their reputation and fan base behind them I fully expect this LP will be a success based on that alone, but with no really notable tracks to speak of I can’t see this one attracting new fans.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is, no thanks guys, if it’s OK by you I’ll keep your 90’s material for now and hope that the glory days return. We’ll find out in another 5 years I guess…