Unlimited love for the Chili Peppers
14 April 2022-
It had been a while since we last heard of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but they really came out unbelievably strong from this Covid-induced break with twelfth album Unlimited Love...
Over the years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have rarely disappointed. Gradually unleashing their remarkably rich and subtle musical universe on us mere mortals, they have grown to become an absolute mainstay in contemporary music. With very good reason: their unique blend of funk, rock and pop was interesting from the get-go, and only became more refined over time. In 2016, based on a self-proclaimed desire to mix things up, the band released 11th album The Getaway, produced by the excellent Danger Mouse. That slight departure from their funk/rock roots into more electronic-infused sounds was met with a warm welcome, although some arguably wished for a comeback to the olden days of rawer, grittier riffs.
The wait is over.
2022’s Unlimited Love is not simply a return to their core sound: it is in effect a reformation of the definitive dream team that made the Red Hot Chili Peppers a band for the history books. For one, guitarist extraordinaire John Frusciante rejoined the group ahead of this release. The guys were doing fine without him, but you cannot fail to notice the incredible plus the riff maker adds to the formula: starting with lead single “Black Summer”, on to the powerful “The Great Apes” and its massive solo, all the way to “Veronica”, which arks back to the golden days of progressive rock with its complex structure, rhythmic changes — and that otherworldly guitar, Frusciante is everywhere. And we appreciate every bit of it.
The other “fifth Chili Pepper” if it were is none other than legendary producer Rick Rubin. Rubin produced the band’s studio output ever since their seminal 1991 Blood Sugar Sex Magik, so that come back is just about as important as Frusciante’s licks. And the man’s touch can be felt throughout: there is an organic, authentic yet pristine quality to the way the tracks on this album sound. Take “Aquatic Mouth Dance”, with Flea’s ever-present bass beat and accompanying vocals by Mr Anthony Kiedis, or “White Braids & Pillow Chair” where that voice is even more unavoidable (along with a chorus guitar bit that almost sounds like a classic Motown track) or the minimalistic closing track “Tangelo”… Everything on this set is produced with great care and even more elegance. We didn’t expect any less from Rubin, still feels great to hear…
In an era where mainstream rock albums are few and far between — this week marking an exception, as Unlimited Love overtook Machine Gun Kelly’s Mainstream Sellout at the top of the charts — it is unequivocally refreshing to hear a band the size of the Red Hot Chili Peppers take chances with this outstanding blend of old and new, rock and funk, acoustic sections and guitar riffs… Long live rock n’ roll — and the Red Hot Chili Peppers!