Released: Jun 17, 2016
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Funk Rock
Label: Warner Bros
Number Of Tracks: 13
A good kick up the trousers sends RHCP into more interesting territory, infusing their sound with a tasty tinge of '80s electronica and trip-hop.
The GetawayFeatured review by: UG Team, on june 25, 2016 5 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: After yet another five year gap between albums, long-time arena cheeses Red Hot Chili Peppers crank out their eleventh studio album "The Getaway." Since their 2011 effort "I'm With You," the band really did need to tzsuj up their approach to things as the graceless segue into musical rich mans playgrounding on that record cemented a somewhat stale direction.
Measures were needed, emphases reshuffled, a bit of an overhaul from all aspects of their endeavors. The biggest twist comes from the replacement of cornerstone Rick Rubin with the odd choices of Danger Mouse and Nigel Godrich (who just finished up Radiohead's latest stunning release "A Moon Shaped Pool"). If nothing else, this change certainly swung the direction around a bit, or rather, has given "The Getaway" and actual direction to go to.
Still indulgent enough with what's available to multi-millionaire bands, there's much more of a unique character going around that hasn't appeared before in an RHCP album. Much more textural in design, the focus on pop hooks and singles has been toned down significantly. The first track, the title track, blends into familiar territory well enough but the overdubs, drum tones and repetition speaks far more of Danger Mouses trip-hop/electro-rock history. Working more as flourishes, it reveals more and more change as it goes on: the biggest one being that guitarist Josh Klinghoffer now has his own space in the band rather than just going along with the imprint left behind by Frusciante.
Strangely ethereal dub lines and extremely spacious reverb blends into these songs in various ways, not just in guitar form. Piano signals the shift from hard to soft in striking ways, adding a soothing edge to the rhythm sections spice. String parts come and go in various forms but their cinematic harmonies and arrangements act in similar fashions.
Not to say there's no grit going on, far from it. Driven bruisers like "We Turn Red" and "Detroit" have their fair share of softer bits but there's a hard, funky shell to crack around their innards. This is all very precisely exacerbated by Danger Mouse's approach to drums, an effect that was achieved on that one monumental album "St. Elsewhere" by his group Gnarls Barkley to great effect ("Necromancer" is the darkest hip-hop song you've never heard).
This is still balanced by an interesting blend of lighter stuff too. "The Longest Wave" starts off as the kind of sappy indie-funk blend that induces every kind of cringe but it's got this really nice blend of light details in the guitar and bass rhythms to stop it from stabbing itself. "Sick Love" is "comfortable" RHCP at its most comfortablist (???) and even has frickin' Elton John on the gentle piano infusions.
The second half of this album is where things get way more intriguing. Leaning more towards the floaty trip-hop style of Gorillaz and the aforementioned Gnarls Barkley, "Go Robot" is an '80s soundtrack joy that conjures up many-a-vaporwave visual ideas, "Detroit" is a sort-of-sister to Led Zep's "Immigrant Song" that also has one of the more progressive chord movements heard in an RHCP chorus and "The Hunter" is this extremely wide horizon of massively spacious blues, thematic cinematic "stuff" and hangover-fueled Kiedis crooning. Even "This Ticonderoga" and "Dreams of a Samurai" have a hint of Zappa weirdness about them.
Considering how much of a mix rut the overall feel of things has sounded since "Californication," things have actually become vaguely exciting again for RHCP. // 9
Lyrics: The element of Kiedis in RHCP is almost irreplaceable and to have the guy have five years to get his ideas together has worked out. He doesn't push the boat out so much as redecorates it with a few additions. Keeping to his heavily rhythmical approach and mid-range vocal comfort zone, there's less of the monotone rambling style of the irksome work of heresy "Dani California" (it's just a stupid song, ok) and more of a determined and focused attempt at narrative in his projection.
Lyrically, weeeeell... you knew he was eventually going to say KAH-LEE-PHAWN-YUH at least once on this record. Plus Kiedis' propensity to almost-ramble in the majority of anything he sings on does kick in a little bit here and there. However, "The Getaway" is at least thematic and the new feel from the production does compliment this rather nicely. It's a story that's being told over a continuous set of '80s and modern hybridized opening movie credits and generally alright movies too.
Ok, there's a touch of the "Kung Fury" about it but it's all alright really. // 7
Overall Impression: Comparing it in quality to past efforts feels like a miss-step, it'd be more honest to say that this Danger Mouse direction has spiced up, straightened up and improved the RHCP recipe. Klinghoffer feels great too, to the point where Frusciante is all but a distant memory. The appeal to many crowds is there in the details but there's still the RHCP vein going right through it all.
Songs to look out for: "Dark Necessities," "We Turn Red," "Go Robot," "Detroit," "The Hunter," "Dreams of a Samurai." // 9
evanharte123, on june 27, 2016 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Red Hot Chili Peppers continue where they left off on "I'm With You" with "The Getaway," combining Flea and Smith's classic rhythm & funk jams with atmospheric guitar riffs adding colors that create a compelling and unique texture. Anthony Kiedis' vocals sound just as strong as ever on this album. As on "I'm With You," the focus here seems to be on melody, though the constant driving hip-hop/funk rhythms really give them life. With Kiedis, it always has and still does feel effortless.
Though the basic drum, bass, guitar, and vocal quartet is the prime combination on this album, there are some appearances of piano ("Dark Necessities," "Sick Love," "Feasting on the Flowers," "The Hunter," "Dreams of a Samurai") as well as one particular appearance of trumpet ("The Hunter") on the album, adding interesting colors to the texture.
As mentioned above, Josh Klinghoffer's guitar on this album mostly sits in the background, adding an effect that is almost psychedelic and atmospheric. He does an excellent job of this, though really shines when he plays more actively, for example, in the John Frusciante-esque intro (and outro) to "The Longest Wave."
I have grown to like the drum sound on this album. Though at first, I thought it sounded very raw, almost lo-fi. But I have come to appreciate the rawness and the edge that it brings to this collection of songs. As always, Chad Smith's (embellished-beyond-basic) drum beats are tasty, especially in tunes like "We Turn Red" and "Dreams of a Samurai." Along with Flea, Chad Smith really drives this album home, as they did on "I'm With You." Though having had Josh Klinghoffer in the band for several years now, his sound on this album feels much more "together"/in tune with the rest of the band.
Flea is as awesome as ever... 'Nuff said. Check out the sweet bass grooves in "Dark Necessities," "Go Robot" and "Dreams of a Samurai" for proof. Though the bass is consistently awesome throughout the entire album. // 9
Lyrics: "If you want to go dancing in Chicago / Trinidad got it bad for Tobago / Take me to the lake where we do the avocado / Hallelujah, a desperado" - "We Turn Red"
"Stumble down to the parking lot you got / No time for the afterthought they're like / Ice Cream for an Astronaut / Well that's me looking for we" - "Dark Necessities"
"Sterile as the barrel of an old 12 gauge / Under my skin and half my age / Hotter than the wax on a saxifrage / The longest wave" - "The Longest Wave"
A lot of the lyrics on "The Getaway" (note the above) seem nonsensical. Though this is nothing new from Anthony Kiedis; it has never really been about making sense with Kiedis. His primary focus in lyric-writing has always been about fitting the rhythm and groove of the song, almost "rap-singing" at times, and in the end, making it rhyme. None of this has changed on "The Getaway." Because of this, the album exemplifies another strong album from Kiedis. // 8
Overall Impression: 1. The first thing you hear on this album is the title track "The Getaway." The most interesting thing about this song is the repeating "ti-tika" beat-box-sizzles in the vocals that start the song and continue throughout. Besides this, I personally found this song a bit boring until the very end in which we finally get what feels like a classic/catchy RHCP chorus.
2. "Dark Necessities," the lead single on the album, starts with what one might think is going to be a similar vibe to "The Getaway," but soon breaks out into a classic Flea slap-bass funk. This song has a very catchy chorus and a cool guitar solo from Josh and is easily one of the top tracks on the album.
3. "We Turn Red" has my favorite drum beat on the album. It's a medium-slow paced funk that, with its steady off beat hi-hat, makes you want to bob your head. The chorus is mellow and moody, bringing to mind some of the soft, beautiful choruses on "By the Way."
4. Mentioned above, "The Longest Wave" contains guitar work from Klinghoffer that sounds almost like (to me at least) something that John Frusciante might have come up with in the "Californication"/"By the Way" days. Another mellow/melodic chorus continues this trend which lasts for the remainder of the song.
5. I absolutely dig the vocal rhythms in "Goodbye Angels." Jumping quickly between on the beat and off the beat, Kiedis is the star in this one. This song as a whole, has a slightly heavier yet relaxed vibe for the most part. Though the best part of the song, if not the album, is at the end when Kiedis shouts "Kiss this!" and Flea erupts into a slap bass triplet groove, soon to be joined instrumentally by the rest of the band until the end of the song. This truly is one of the best moments on the album.
6. "Sick Love" has some really cool guitar work in the verse from Josh and perhaps one of the catchiest choruses on the album. There is not much more going for this song besides a rather simple guitar solo from Josh that I actually really like.
7. "Go Robot" is perhaps the funkiest jam on the album. Flea's bass playing attributes to this for the most part. Though the guitar panned to the left in the chorus is my favorite snippet of guitar work from Josh Klinghoffer on the album. This song also uses a lot of synthesizer, especially in the bridge. It feels like techno-funk. Very robotic!
8. "Feasting on the Flowers" is IMO the strongest song on the album. The guitar at the beginning reminds me of John Frusciante on "Stadium Arcadium." Though also IMO, the chorus, although containing some beautiful vocal harmonies from Kiedis, could use some guitar. Besides this, the song is medium-slow, yet incredibly catchy. Anthony as well as Josh at times really shine on this one.
9. "Detroit." This song is slightly more upbeat than the rest of the album, something which I found myself clinging onto when first listening. The drums and bass are groovy and there is constant guitar in this song, helping to make it one of the strongest on the album. It could have been on "Stadium Arcadium"!
10. "This Ticonderoga" is the fastest song on the album, yet it might seem average paced when compared to some of RHCP's previous work. It is also the track with the most distortion on the guitar. This really catches the ear of the listener since nothing like it has been heard on the album until this point. There are two points in the song where the tempo makes a sudden and significant drop for a more melodic break from the fast pace and distorted guitar. This is a nice touch and makes the song more memorable.
11. "Encore" is my second-least favorite track on the album. It sounds almost like "Dosed"/"Scar Tissue" RHCP, though less interesting melodically. This song may grow on me yet. Though, as for right now, it doesn't do much for me.
12. "The Hunter" is my least favorite track on the album. I do like the piano work in this song. But I find the vocals and guitar are just not that interesting. Again, this song may grow on me, but as for right now, I find it boring. It is definitely a lot different than earlier RHCP.
13. Despite it seeming like this album headed downhill after "This Ticonderoga," "Dreams of a Samurai" is one of the strongest songs on the album. The piano at the beginning is fascinating. It is melodic and beautiful. It soon fades out and a medium-slow paced, 5/4 time, funk groove enters on the bass. Is is this bass line that I find getting stuck in my head all day. The drum beat with its snare and bass drum embellishments is equally as intriguing. The chorus in this song is, IMO, is the strongest on the album. It switches from 5/4 to 4/4 time and is more melodic than the verse; it also has been getting stuck in my head constantly since first hearing it.
Overall, "The Getaway" is a strong album from RHCP. It is in the same vein as "I'm With You" (which is to be expected, since "The Getaway" contains the same lineup), though focuses more on medium-slow paced funky jams with atmospheric guitar and synthesizer sounds. That being said, Josh Klinghoffer does have some highly interesting / more active guitar moments on this album. // 9