After years of turning out cool, funky rock the Chilis hit a sound with By The Way, packed full of hits but much slicker than the previous work; we’ve found that and their subsequent work a bit samey. They also like lengthy albums — 2006’s Stadium Arcadium seemed about two weeks long. You could certainly nip out and do a big shop, and still find in playing.
This new album is more of the same: the songs are slick and clearly, with such gifted musicians, played and written to high standards. The trouble is, people want what they know and RHCP are tied in to the sound the fans want.
There’s a predictability continuum for stadium bands, from bands like U2 (can go in any direction they fancy) to the Rolling Stones (flaccid albums to promote the cash-generating tour) and RHCP are bang in the middle. They take no risks, though on the plus side they do seem to have some fire in their bellies, and the album is funky and fun to play.
The sound is slick and ranges from the Led Zep-ish to Beatles by the way of blues but it takes no risks. Corporate rock at its most palatable.