The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been great pioneers in the funk rock sound. In the past they have produced some punchy tunes full of energy and passion topped off with sharp witted lyrics. Sadly this release shows that the days of Mothers Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magic are long gone. In most parts the music here feels flat and tired. So much of it sounds like they are simply rehashing their previous work but delivering it with total indifference to the extent that even the band members sound bored.
Monarchy of roses for most parts sounds like the Chili Peppers’ soft rock side, only with some heavy distortion added on top here and there. The heavier parts sound like an after thought that were tagged on at the last minute and really ruin what could have been a decent song. Ethiopia feels like a production line tune that has all the usual elements of a solid Chili Pepper single but without the charisma that made their previous work so powerful. Instead it feels forced and contrived. Annie wants a baby could have been a powerfully emotional tune but sadly its indifferent delivery makes everything fall flat. Look around sounds like they just randomly threw bits and pieces of their previous singles into a mixer and left it that. Happiness loves company is an attempt at a piano led sing and dance along that feels too contrived and as a result doesn’t really work.
There are a couple of highlights amongst the mediocrity. Brendan’s death song starts out as laid back country feel that gradually builds to be a rock anthem towards the end. This shows the band explore both their soft and heavy sides and pull them both off with passion and power. Goodbye hooray shows that the band still have the heavy gritty sound in them as they rock out hard. Sadly, the rest is quite forgettable.
For most parts this album simply goes through the motions and delivers a heap of padding with little substance. The 60 minutes worth of not particularly engaging music becomes tiring and before long it’s a challenge just to keep awake. Far from the red hot sounds of the 80s and 90s, the Chili Peppers on this album rate a mild at best!