December 14, 2005

John Frusciante - Shadows Collide with People

You may know John Frusciante as the guitarist from the 90's hit band The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Any fan of the Peppers will tell you that John has a gift for finding that catchy riff which gave the Chilli Peppers their big lift into stardom. Frusciante left the band in 1992, before the release of "One Hot Minute", to experiment with heroin and other drugs. Spending all of his time in his room reading into philosophy, trying to communicate with other dimensions, and working out mathematical equations. During which, John went back into the studio without the band and recorded a few albums that got little attention from fans and even less attention from the labels. The albums were raw and sounded unprepared. Basically any junkie that can play the guitar and use equipment could have accomplished what Frusciante did in "Niandra Lades and Usually a T-Shirt". After a few more musical experiments, he got back together with Flea, Anthony Kiedis and the rest of the band to make the highly appreciated album "Californication". He branched off yet again to release the more respected "To Record Only Water For 10 Days" in 2001.

Now that the brief biography is over, lets get to the topic at hand, Frusciante's 2004 release "Shadows Collide With People". If this isn't your first listen to Frusciante, fear not. This album is way more produced and less of the junkie on steroids sound that his previous attempts are known for. The first track, Carvel, sets the mood for the rest of the album very well, showcasing Frusciante's incomparable nack for creating that original sound that many musicians lack these days. John's lyrics are very personal and become profound with time, (everywhere you are in a maze is a lie/anywhere you are in a page, you still go to the right) but the initial seller of this album is the unique guitar sound and his crazy synthesizer effects, comparable to Radiohead and The Mars Volta. Listening to the quality of the songs, it becomes apparent that Frusciante didn't want this attempt to fail and made it a point to get his sound perfected ("Failure 33 Object"). Tracks like "Song to Sing When I'm Lonely", "Ricky", and "Chances" also become an outlet for John to project his true thoughts in the lyrics. Frusciante's partner in crime, Josh Klinghoffer, helps out with the synth's, keyboards and percussion. John also brings some very big names in to help out his sound like Omar Rodrigues (At the Drive-In / The Mars Volta) and RHCP members Flea and Chad Smith.

In closing, there isn't one song on "Shadows Collide with People" that doesn't captivate you. Each song is contagious in its own way. If you're looking to get away from the corporate production sound that has been shoved down our throats for so long, this is one album that is easy to enjoy the whole way through. "Shadows" is a listening experience. It's as if Frusciante was given one last chance to clean up his act and get it right, and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

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