Chilli Peppers' guitarist and mild nutjob Frusciante follows up his '04/'05 six-album-odyssey with The Empyrean, his 11th solo release. Will this one be more 'I have so much music inside of me just waiting to get out' or 'I just wanted some money for heroin'?
- Frusciante's musicianship can never really be questioned, and this album is no different to usual. His trademark simple-yet-effective guitar playing is present throughout.
- As is also a trademark with Frusciante's playing, each tiny note seems to be packed with barrels of emotion. Which is nice.
- It seems to me that Frusciante's best solo work is done in collaboration with former Bicycle Thief guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, and his presence on The Empyrean seems to have again done the trick.
- This record is essentially somewhere in between the polished pop of When Shadows Collide With People and the dark experimentation of The Will To Death. All the catchy as hell pop hooks are still there, but Frusciante isn't afraid to riff on them and experiment at length.
- Most of these experiments are pretty damned successful, with midi-controlled vocal choirs, glitched up guitar chords and seriously heavy string quartets being amongst the highlights.
- That said, the best thing about the album is still the fact that it's filled with some amazing songs. Frusciante has a knack of writing hooky little emotive melodies, and also somehow making them danceable.
- Finally, there are at least three occurances on this album of Frusciante's famous 'gutteral roar'. Which is just awesome.
- As is want to happen when one cranks up the experimentation, there are a few examples of self-indulgence. The album's opening track is unfortunately one casualty, and at over nine minutes long, becomes quite irritating.
- Frusciante has neglected to get the album mastered. This was a conscious choice (as he explains in the liner notes), as he wanted the music to maintain the dynamic it was mixed with. While this is a fairly admirably stand against homogeny, it means that listening to the album on anything other than a decent stereo and at a hefty volume is going to significantly take away from it's quality. So he's got to be marked down for lack of practicality.
John Frusciante- Unreachable