Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros)

If we were melodramatic enough to use a term such as ‘gut-wrenching’, we’d probably be using it right about now. Thankfully, we’re not quite histrionic old ham-monsters just yet, so the term “bollocks, I’m miffed” should just about cover it.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, arguably one of the most iconic rock bands of our generation, return to non-form with a meek vulnerable whine in the gimmicky double album Stadium Arcadium.

Lead single Dani California is a tepid affair, with an accompanying video that even My Chemical Romance would cringe watching. There’s little to get excited about other than that fact it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers, such is the apparent theme of Stadium Arcadium overall.

An abundance of unresponsive tracks sprawled across two discs, it’s clearly with the intention of experimenting. Quirky funk is injected into what could potentially have been immortal rock riffs, while Kiedis’ once-affecting vocals more often than not become slow and simpering. Granted, there are some elite melodies peppered throughout the album(s), but for the most part there’s really not much happening.

Perhaps we’re being too harsh. The Chilis could easily have taken a comfortable cruise along the middle of the road, gliding along gracefully towards their fifties, yet instead they’ve endeavoured to maintain their fierce energy and now-accomplished edge in a new format. Risky? Yes. Admirable? Yes. Effective... meh.

It makes perfect sense to back up such a radical change with characteristic Chili, but sadly the consistent material is more a poor reproduction of bygone glories than a faithful flipside to extreme novel ideas. Incredibly, incredibly disappointing. Come back, guys. Please?

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