Chili Peppers’ sound evolves through roots

by Conner Cox

Red Hot Chili Peppers

It has been more than five years since the Red Hot Chili Peppers released its last album, so expectations are high for its forthcoming 10th studio album, “I’m With You.” Written and recorded throughout the last two years, the album is the Chili Peppers’ first in 15 years without long-time guitarist John Frusciante. Replacing Frusciante is ex-Warpaint drummer and long-time friend of the band, Josh Klinghoffer.

In an interview with Guitar World, bassist Flea described Klinghoffer as a “subtle, sublime and poetic musician,” rather than a guitar-hero virtuoso like his predecessor..

With or without Frusciante, fans still have a lot to look forward to in the new record. Klinghoffer’s guitar playing manages to preserve the classic Chili Peppers sound through vibrant funk riffs and melodic falsettos, while simultaneously exploring new ground.

“Monarchy of Roses” opens the album with feedback-filled guitars, distorted vocals and a militant beat, eventually evolving into a fun-loving and melodic sound that defines the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

While major guitar leads seem to dominate most of their discography, that isn’t the case for “I’m With You.” It’s a very diverse album that revisits the band’s older sounds with retro and funk influences. Songs such as “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie,” “Factory of Faith,” and “Annie Wants a Baby” derive from the bass line and are greeted by a shy and melodic guitar riff. Other songs such as “Police Station” and “Did I Let You Know” sound like something listeners would enjoy during a sunny day at the beach. “Look Around” and “Goodbye Hooray” have an upbeat and charismatic sound, which singer Anthony Kiedis presents with his unusual and cleverly humorous lyrics.

“I’m With You” will be a pleasant surprise for every fan. It isn’t as melodic as “By the Way” or as sophisticated as “Stadium Arcadium,” but it is definitely worth a listen. The album went on sale in CD, vinyl and digital download on Monday.