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Red Hot Chili Peppers

Californication

  • Warner Bros.

Don't let their softer side sway you.

It's true that a lot of the new Red Hot Chili Peppers disc is more contemplative and quieter than their typical fare, as typified by the slide-draped lead single “Scar Tissue”, which already is scoring big at modern rock radio stations across the land. Other cuts like the shimmering electric/acoustic mix “This Velvet Glove” and the all-acoustic, string-tinged finale “Road Tripping ”show a milder side to a band that has mostly made its reputation with a bristling brand of high energy, alt-funk fusion.

A departure it may be, but this also turns out to be one of the most consistent and mature works that the Chili Peppers have ever produced.

The set's centerpiece is the Hollywood Babylon title track, a provocative tale of the California dream gone astray in a blur of cosmetic surgeons, “hard core soft porn,” teenage brides and total destruction. And longtime fans can be assured that there's still a fiery side to hang onto. Producer Rick Rubin, who was behind the boards on previous Peppers' hits like Blood Sugar Sex Magik has got the levels pinned on full-tilt tracks such as the very funky “Get on Top,” the dense swirl of “Parallel Universe,” and the snarling English travelogue“ Emit Remmus.”

One of the year's best and a disc that grows on the listener with each new listen.

Kevin O'Hare

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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