Red Hot Chili Peppers – Return of The Dream Canteen

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Return of the Dream Canteen is the Red Hot Chili Peppers 13th album and their second one this year, coming six months after Unlimited Love with both produced by long-time contributor Rick Rubin. Just like buses, you wait ages for one then two turn up at once.

It starts off strong with the funky ‘Tippa My Tongue’, it is a classic slice of the chilis, with a joyous bounce and nonsense lyrics (“her perfume smells like gasoline, my girlfriend’s trash is nice and clean”). ‘Eddie’, a touching tribute to Eddie Van Halen, is a charming slow burner with subtle melodies and an explosive Frusciante solo. ‘Reach Out’ is a welcome serving of nice N’ noisy rock and ‘Roulette’ holds host to a deep, almost hypnotic groove, with the shimmery guitars and Chad Smith‘s perfectly in the pocket drumming. ‘Fake as Fu@k’ is the best moment here, a soft and melodious start bursts into life with a catchy chorus and infectious blasts of trumpet and saxophone. 

After track 7 things get a bit topsy turvy, it is admirably varied and eclectic but the quality is not there. Nothing here is bad, it just passes you by and is hard to recall – whether it be the electronic, Hip Hop style drumbeat and jazz stylings of ‘My Cigarette’ or the bluesy funk of ‘Carry Me Home’. The soothing melancholia and enchanting melodies of ballad ‘The Drummer’ perks things up, alas things quickly dip again with loud but middle of the road ‘Bag of Grins’ and the atmospherically bland ‘La La La La La La La La’. This 17 track album is ended by ‘In The Snow’, where a 80’s Phil Collins beat is married to a drab and dreary melody.

This is to be expected with a 75 minutes long album which, when combined to the 73 minute long Unlimited Love’, equates to 148 minutes of music this year. Like Green Day (Uno, Dos, Tre), Bruce Springsteen (Human Touch, Lucky Town) and Guns N Roses (Use Your Illusion I & II) before them, releasing vast amounts of music simultaneously dilutes a potentially great record into one which is good in parts but swamped with filler. 

6/10

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