Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, you have to admire Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bloody-minded determination. Now in their 33rd year, Anthony Kiedis and co have had their fair share of ups and downs yet they remain resolute in their pursuit of musical illustriousness, avoiding even one split (although with a couple of line-up changes) along the way.
Unfortunately for their fans, that illustriousness has become increasingly difficult to attain in recent years: by all accounts, it has been 14 years since they last released a half-decent album – 2002's By the Way. Things have been shaken up for this, their 11th album: it's out with longtime producer Rick Rubin, who had worked on all their albums since 1989, and in with Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, with Nigel Godrich on mixing duties.
In truth, it's difficult to ascertain exactly what either Burton or Radiohead producer Godrich brought to The Getaway. Perhaps they struggled to ruffle the quartet's distinctive style, embedded over decades. In other words, there are no real surprises here – it sounds like a Red Hot Chili Peppers album, with the customary taut shuck of guitars, ostentatious basslines a-plenty, and Kiedis's spitfire vocals.
Comprised largely of songs inspired by the implosion of the frontman's recent relationship, lines on Dark Necessities, The Hunter and Goodbye Angels suggest lovelorn regret and display a fair amount of depth. That said, he does rhyme "sentimental trooper" with "Alice Cooper", and declare "robots are my next of kin" on Go Robot. The vibrant Feasting on the Flowers is better, changing the lazy formula that permeates the tracklisting, but overall a vague sense of ridiculousness is never far away. It could have – and should have – been better.