This man is mad. Here’s to a completely chameleon like musician, if there ever was one. After the lush, keyboard-laden The Empyrean, the free-of-tomfoolery DC EP, and the clean guitar driven The Will to Death, we have Mr.Frusciante getting much more upbeat. Just think, the last two, this one, and three more full length albums were released in the course of a year! Not only that; you would expect music produced that fast to be at Kevin Federline-esque levels of shittiness. But no. Everything I’ve heard so far is quality stuff.
There is a notable garage/indie/early Nirvana feel here. You can tell that the songs are recorded by a few mics in a room with all the instruments being played at the same time. You can hear people counting down, scratchiness in Frusciante‘s voice, string noise from the bass and guitars, and in a moment during ‘A Firm Kick’, I thought I heard him shifting in his chair! I don’t mind it at all. The imperfections make it more real. A couple of notes aren’t all on, and some imperfections are apparent, but still ‘Look On’ has one of the best Frusciante solos I’ve heard. It’s the best song on the album too, because of the lovely riff carrying song along.
In what I’m now identifying as typical Frusciante production, the drums are are unusually loud and given an unusual amount of sonic space. I think its great. This here is how music should be produced. Unfortunately, because of the ‘loudness war’ these days, everything a little more mainstream is compressed to the point of faceless noise. Atypically for Frusciante however, the bass isn’t very forward. All his other albums bear the indelible stamp of a guy used to playing with a bassist like Flea, who is one of the greatest ever.
Despite the lack of a more competent bassist than himself, Frusciante comes up with some great tracks. Watch out for ‘Emptiness’, which is fantastic. Its i basically a short punk rock song done Frusciante style. The bowel-loosening bit is the pre-chorus, which is basically a short but apocalyptic bar of nothing but feedback from basses and guitars and what not. Absolute white noise. With bass and drums. Lou Reed would be proud. ‘Scratches’ too, is a lovely track, which owing to its overall sound and mellowness, belongs more to the DC EP.
Faults? Well, the album doesn’t really have flaws as far as concept and production is concerned. It’s deliberately underproduced, and I like it that way. But I guess there are a few unlikable songs, like the insipid ‘I’m Around’ and the try-too-hard-to-be-Hardcore-Punk ‘666’. That said, I like the scream in the chorus.
But despite the little niggles, I’m gobsmacked at the quality, variety and prolific output of Frusciante. Over the next week or so, stay tuned to get reviews of all this work. I’m getting tired of saying this, but this sounds right.
Lovely guy. Great music. More JOHN FRUSCIANTE reviews HERE.
He generally falls under PROGRESSIVE/ART/PSYCHEDELIC. Those reviews are HERE.