Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication - Review
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critics' view

Everyone's favourite sock wearing funk rockers had, by 1998, been through the mill. Drugs, death, divorce, heartache and some dodgy acting jobs do not a happy bunch of Californians make. It was bassist Flea's visit to former guitarist John Frusciante, asking him to re-join the band which saved the day (in place of Dave Navarro who, himself, had exited stage left pursued by his own chemical demons). At first befuddled by reativity without the aid of stimulants, Frusciante in sessions at home started melding with his old bandmates and Californication- the band's most succesful album - was born.

On the surface filled with the usual punk funk, the band had now matured enough to make it sound more convincing. Keidis' voice, ravaged by age and excess, now emerged as a mighty instrument, while Frusciante's guitar held far more subtle nuance.

The album yielded four hit singles (Around the World, Otherside, Californication and the Grammy Award–winning Scar Tissue) but even more interesting waas the way the band let more than just fun and frolics into the mix. Frusciante on Get On Top even fused Public Enemy with prog rock, admittting that his unsdersatated solo had been influenced by Steve Howe of Yes.

Overall the album has a far more meditative feel, allowing you to finally believe that they'd come to do more than just party your town dry. It was the album that confirmned them as world class. They remain such today, and it's all down to this re-birth.

Dennis O'Dell
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The BBC's album reviews ended in 2013, although the pages are archived for retrospective reading. external-link.png

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