Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway Review 

Red Hot Chili Peppers are now undoubtedly a household name. With a career spanning over thirty years and eleven studio albums under their belt, it’s safe to say RHCP have put their funky-rock stamp on the industry. Now they are ready to something new – in an album in which Danger Mouse has been recruited to replace Rick Rubin, who has been producing their albums since 1991, a much more relaxed approach to rock has been put forward.The eponymous opener – The Getaway – deploys a subtly psychedelic undercurrent that runs throughout. It propels the laid-back methodology surrounding the first half of the album especially, with gaudy basslines and echoic vocals omnipresent features, although more successful in some songs than others. Go Robot may as well be a Nile Rogers dancefloor filler, whereas This Ticonderoga is an uneasy concoction of hard-rock verses and dissenting ethereal ambiances that underline the chorus. However, don’t be fooled by the charming ‘groovy baby’ vibes; Anthony Kiedis has something to say. Edgier rock notions reach their crest in Dark Necessities, despite it’s equally mellow funk: lyrics such as “You don’t know my mind/You don’t know my kind” invite mystery and add a surlier tone. The harsher slant is given credence in the ‘rapped’ tracks, such as Goodbye Angels, in which Kiedes spits his lyrics with vigour and 2009’s newbie Josh Klinghoffer delivers an impressive concluding hook. And although the disco outfits incite a fun atmosphere, plus the rockier tunes call into question how far Red Hot Chili Peppers have diverted from their head-banging roots, this album seems to be more mature than those of the Californication days. The subject focus seems more considered, such as escaping depression in Goodbye Angels and appreciating the little moments in Encore. All comes to a stirring finale in Dreams of a Samurai, incorporating the musical themes studied throughout The Getaway. It has a spouting synth bass and viscous percussion, with both harmonious and roaring vocals.

The most interesting part of The Getaway is that each song is distinct from its neighbour. Sick Love is the album’s greatest disco strength. It has a very chilled atmosphere with an almost reggae beat, though it keeps to that severe undertow expectant of RHCP in the lyricism. There are traces of rock within the song, most prominent in a fizzing hook provided towards the close, yet this track seems to signpost a new direction for the band. Diverging from this is The Hunter. Though still smooth, it has a bluesy feel about it, the rich guitar riffs being more classic Peppers. This stripped back track makes for a reviving interruption of the preceding incessant funk. The whole album is a mismatch; it’s largely an exploration of disco incandescence but also pleases the long-term fans with conspicuous Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers-ness.

The Gateway is something quite interesting. The style of the album isn’t what I expected at all. It may not be a completely drastic change for the band, but it is certainly an intriguing one. In the lead up to this album, there was speculation concerning whether the world needed another tracklist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers; I think the world should be gratified.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway = 7.5/10

Eleanor Chivers

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