John Frusciante – Shadows Collide With People (2004): Forgotten series

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What is the sound of a lone Pepper? Not as hot, not as funky … but more distinctive than you might expect.

While some of 2004’s Shadows Collide With People shares bits of Chili Pepper-ness, there are definitely a few non-Pepper moments. First of all, the electric guitar does not play a big role here. No, a strummed acoustic is used to build the bed of sound supporting the vocals. This isn’t really out of left field with respect to the Peppers: acoustic guitars are used there, just not to this degree.

Another new texture is the blurpy synth. “Song To Sing When I’m Lonely” starts off with a synth figure that’s right out of 1980s new wave. A lone electric guitar joins in unison with the synth before settling into the first verse. The most interesting track is “Carvel.” The introduction is a California-style channeling of King Crimson’s “In The Court Of The Crimson King.” Yep, there are strings, ominous synths lurking and dirgy vocals. Way cool.

What is very Pepper-like is the tempo, with much of the album settling into that familiar mid-tempo “Californication”/ “Scar Tissue” area. It’s also quite amazing to hear Frusciante’s vocals: because they’re so much like Anthony Kiedis. Not quite as distinctive maybe but they sure do sound like they could be brothers.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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