When John Frusciante quietly left the Chili Peppers in early 2010 many fans feared the worst for the band after all the last time they recorded an album without him it was 1995's poorly received(although underrated) "One Hot Minute" which featured Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro on guitar, most people know that Navarro and Frusciante have varying styles and it showed on the album that was probably more experimental and heavy than anything the Chili Peppers had done to that point. So rather go the same route for album number 10 the chili peppers brought in Josh Klinghoeffer who just happened to have played with the band live in 2007 contributing keyboards, backing vocals and guitar. He also played regularly with John Frusciante on Frusciante's many solo records. So he is more familiar with the Chili Peppers sound and style than someone from the outside.
On "I'm With You" the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound like a band who are ready to tackle many different styles when compared with 2006's double album "Stadium Arcadium" which would have been better as a single and suffered from sounding samey at times throughout it's two hour running time. The album opens with "Monarchy of Roses" which starts with distorted guitars and vocals before entering familiar Chili Pepper territory. It's almost a throwback to "Warped" that opened "One Hot Minute". With Frusciante's departure a lot was expected of bassist Flea to step up and make a big contribution, it's safe to say he doesn't disappoint as he and drummer Chad Smith show why they are one of the best rhythm sections around they hold the song "Factory Of Faith" together brilliantly. As well as delivering a nice chunk of funk on tracks "Ethiopia", "Even You Brutus?" and the brilliant album closer "Dance, Dance, Dance".
There's a nice nod to former co-biographer Brendan Mullen on "Brendan's Death Song". "Goodbye Hooray" is vintage Chili Peppers and features some good playing from Klinghoeffer who also adds back ground vocals to song "Did I Let You Know", it's a track that really shows off his talents. First single "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" has a nice dance feel to it. Of course not everything works "Annie Wants A Baby" never really does anything and maybe at 14 tracks that album could have been scaled back to 12, but these are only small gripes. As always Rick Rubin provides production on the album, he has produced every Chili Peppers album since 1991's "Blood Sugar Sex Magik".
Whilst nobody can really replace John Frusciante or fill his guitar playing shoes, Josh Klinghoffer does a good job on "I'm With You" and shows he can carry the role, and while at times his playing might seem a bit reserved it's only probably because the weight of expectation on his shoulders and this album will probably serve as a gentle introduction for him after all he is guitarist number eight! for the Chili Peppers. It's been 5 long years since "Stadium Arcadium" so it's good to have the Chili Peppers back and there's a lot of life left in them yet!