Has someone got an axe? A pistol, perhaps? Or maybe just a wee castration device? I just wrote what I thought was a masterpiece of a review, and then mistakenly DELETED IT! Ok, gather yourself. I’ll be the writing all this over the top of my head, from what I remember of what I just heard and typed.
Curtains is the aptly titled end of a series of six albums that John Frusciante released between 2004-05, an extraordinarily fecund period that firmly established his towering talent. So what does he have on offer here? This is mainly acoustic guitar driven work, written only with six-strings, some wood, and blue sky thinking. The blue sky thinking comes in the form of Frusicante employing various methods (I will not deign to say ‘tricks’) to make an acoustic-driven album listenable in one sitting.
He makes the intelligent choice of using additional instrumentation, but sparsely and only where the fattening up of the beat and notes provided by the guitar. is needed That means occasional drums mixed low to provided a pulse, occasional electric guitar, Melodica, Harmonica,Piano, and the delicious, fuzzy and full-throated, bottom-end warmth of an upright-acoustic bass. The electric guitar is used for high pitched melodies counter-pointing the acoustic in the beautiful ‘Hope’ and ‘The Past Recedes’ and ‘Anne’ and the like. Melodica and Harmonica provide similar stuff on songs like the gorgeous ‘A Name’.
Oh, and I almost forgot, probably the most non-singer-with-acoustic-guitar thing about this album is the use of Frusicante‘s lovely vocal harmonies nearly everywhere. It’s wonderful to see how a 12 song disc full of mainly acoustic songs is made consistently interesting to someone like me. I’m more of a fulll band kinda guy, and Jackson C. Frank-esque men-with-acoustic-guitars are mostly a weekly rather than daily indulgence for me.
But this is fantastic all through. Listen to ‘The Past Recedes’. Or ‘A Name’. Or the rythmically playful ‘Control’. Or the haunting ‘Hope’. Heck, listen to all of it. Beginning to end. Against all odds, Frusciante‘s best work out of the series of six albums in 2004-05 is the one at the end; the simplest, rawest and starkest. What a guy. This sounds VERY right.
– El Bajista
All other FRUSCIANTE albums HERE.
He is filed under PROGRESSIVE/ART/PSYCHEDELIC. Check that stuff out HERE.