THE GRADE A-
BOTTOM LINE Reinvented, remarkably restrained and red hot once again
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are nothing if not spontaneous.
So when the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ last album, 2011’s “I’m With You,” felt a bit phoned-in and became their first release not to go platinum since 1987’s “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan,” they knew they needed to shake things up.
Instead of returning to producer Rick Rubin, the Long Beach native who had helmed the band’s last six albums, they began work with Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, who has crafted hits for artists like the Black Keys and Beck as well as his own groups Broken Bells and Gnarls Barkley. And that decision has seemingly given the Peppers yet another chance to reinvent themselves.
With “The Getaway” (Warner Bros.), the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound energized and adventurous, using the building blocks of their career — Anthony Kiedis’ swaggering P-Funk vocals, Flea’s distinctive slap bass and Chad Smith’s pounding drumming — in new ways, as Josh Klinghoffer comes into his own as the band’s guitarist.
The new single “Dark Necessities,” already No. 1 on the rock charts, shows off the revamped style. Though the song is still driven by Flea’s funky bass, Kiedis’ vocals slip nicely into a new, slightly more electronic groove, with a grand guitar solo from Klinghoffer to drive it all home.
On “Sick Love,” Klinghoffer drops in some jazzy guitar flourishes over Flea’s big, loping bass to build the Beck-Peppers bridge we never knew we needed, while “Go Robot” brings back the Peppers’ ’80s style in an irresistible, far sleeker package that still allows Kiedis to declare “Robots don’t care where I’ve been” before Klinghoffer’s guitar work feeds a dizzying disco explosion.
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“The Getaway” funnels the wildness of “Mother’s Milk” and the ambitions of “Stadium Arcadium” into the Peppers’ most focused — and artistically consistent — album yet.