The once wild Californian funk-rockers have slowly got more sleepy and tame over the years – once a pack of jumping leg-humping Jack Russells, now a mass of somnolent salivating senior St Bernards. What a sickening amount of alliteration I just used there.
Yes, RHCP have always been just as lovable, but not nearly as playful in recent years as proved by their utterly unmemorable last album I’m With You and previous two-hour slog Stadium Arcadium. Now releasing The Getaway, it seems the band have decided to make a getaway from Rick Rubin and the formulaic alt rock sound that’s been dragging them down for the last decade. Upping the funk but being careful not to simply imitate their Blood Sugar Sex Magik glory days, they’ve instead decided to excitedly reinvent themselves bringing in spacey synths such as on ‘Go Robot’ and psychedelic guitar effects as found on title track ‘The Getaway’. Some dude called Elton John contributes some pianos, adding a new dimension. Frontman Anthony Kiedis meanwhile proves to be as nutty a lyricist as ever delivering lines such as ‘two centipedes stuck in one glass jar’ and curiously telling listeners to ‘do the avocado!’.
Indeed Flea could have tried to write a few less familiar basslines, but otherwise the album is teeming with fresh ideas. It’s just a pity that the band have continued to sound more like fresh bell peppers rather than chillies. Despite the big bearded bloke not being around to produce the album, the guitars still sound thin and the vocals still sound flat. All in all, everyone sounds half-asleep, Indeed, they’ve got more playful, but they aren’t packing that spicy kick any more that made them so hot in the beginning.
‘Time to call it a day’ sings Kiedis on ‘The Longest Wave’. Thankfully I don’t believe this sentiment to be true. Whilst the Chillies are getting older, I don’t think they’ve lost all their energy just yet. In fact there are teasing glimpses on this album such as the boisterous end of ‘Goodbye Angels’ and the raw guitar riff of ‘This Tinconderoga’ that show the group have heaps energy stored away.
All the band need are a few coffees to get them sounding lively again. A creative album, The Getaway just feels a little too laid back in its delivery for the guys who once wore nothing but socks on their cocks.