Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
If we were to look over the Chili Peppers catalogue, the new record I’m With You stands out like a sore thumb. The reason for this, is the lack of John Frusciante on the guitar, which yes, the Peppers have endured before on 1995’s One Hot Minute, but the ring in for that period, Dave Navarro, was able to bring his own personality into the fold and even the scales. The new axe man, Josh Klinghoffer, seems to be there just to fill a spot on the line-up, providing guitar parts where necessary that “will do,” letting the rhythm section drive the majority of the songs.
Luckily the rhythm section in question is Chad Smith and Flea, who both step up to the plate and use this predicament as a moment to shine making them the standout elements of the record. Anthony Kiedis seems to be in a rut, never really stepping out of his little box except for the off kilter rhythms of Ethiopia and the sporadic moments of Even You Brutus? which musically sounds like the Peppers covering a Maroon 5 song during its verses.
Flea’s bass lines drive tracks like the openers Monarchy Of Roses and Factory Of Faith whilst Chad Smith’s simple but solid drum patterns are frequently the most interesting parts, especially on album highlight Did I Let You Know. The rhythm powerhouses come together on the album’s first single The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie which features a direct groove with layered funk.
Whilst the feel of the record is pretty mellow the group’s funk roots shine through whenever possible. Long time Chili producer Rick Rubin is along for the ride, but the lack of memorable moments as whole however means that I’m With You is ultimately a let down. The Chili Peppers are really at the end of their tether and whilst they are still capable of producing some quality music, it’s probably time to call it a day.