The funk-rock veterans’ return got off to a stuttering start: sessions were put on hold following bassist Flea’s snowboarding injury, Anthony Kiedis was hospitalised with intestinal flu, and around 30 songs were scrapped before this album was completed. The stormy, sullen first single Dark Necessities is far from shambolic, however. With production from Danger Mouse, who takes over Rick Rubin’s 25-year stint with the group, RHCP’s sound has become surprisingly streamlined. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s style brings out a spacier, melancholy feel that mutes the burliness of previous records. Feasting on the Flowers is a mournful story about the death of a friend, while The Longest Wave is delicate in its downcast approach. That said, clunky metaphors and couplets (such as the machine romancing on Go Robot: “I want to thank you and spank you upon your silver skin”) – all too often come along and puncture the pensiveness.
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