Three and-a-bit months after the Red Hot Chili Peppers released comeback record ‘Unlimited Love’, the funk rockers announced more music was on the way. As it transpires, we can expect a 17-track, Rick Rubin-produced double LP, one which vaunts the band’s signature funkadelic sound yet takes further risks and explores new avenues.
Arriving with a brilliant, albeit slightly bonkers title, the Chili Peppers present their 13th studio album, ‘Return of The Dream Canteen’. The record opens with August released Chili Pepper masterclass ‘Tippa My Tongue’, a bombastic and colourful ode to the band’s history. Anthony Kiedis’s talent for lyrical easter eggs is platformed, referencing the band’s history punking up the streets of Los Angeles as the ‘Funky Monks’, yet affirming to listeners that they’ve “only just begun”.
Track two is the aptly titled ‘Peace and Love’, a groovy ballad which opens with the distinctive bass slaps of one Flea and simple cymbal taps from Mr. Chad Smith. Wistful yet uplifting, it hears the lighter side of the band. While follow up track ‘Reach Out’ goes from zero to a hundred and hears heavy clusters of rock ’n’ roll guitar riffs at the hands of John Frusciante.
Melancholic, hazy and easy on the ear, track seven ‘Roulette’ middles the album’s 17 tracks. Guitar screams and surf rock whirl around Kiedis’s vocal. An acoustic guitar makes an appearance throughout the tune, a contrast to neighbouring track ‘My Cigarette’, which feels more experimental and left of centre, utilising electronic instruments to compliment the traditional Chili Pepper line up.
As the album draws to a close, we hear more newness from the Peppers. Track 14 ‘La La La La La La La La’ (that’s eight la’s, for reference) is a pensive and earnest ditty. Kiedis sings over a slow and sad piano that meets a saxophone halfway. A stark difference from the following two tracks ‘Copperbelly’ and ‘Carry Me Home’ which stick close the band’s roots.
Ending with another attention-grabber, ‘In The Snow’ is a track that again feels like a stark difference from previous Chili Pepper projects. The band promised that they weren’t going to play it safe with this record, and it seems to have paid off.
Words: Isabella Miller