Monday, March 2, 2009
John Frusciante - "The Empyrian" CD
Frusciante's day job as guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers may be his best-known gig, but it's far from his finest work. When he's not touring or recording with mates Anthony, Flea, and Chad, John rounds up a few (other) friends and releases often wildly-disparate solo recordings. His latest, recorded from 2006 to 2008, combines his ever-growing sense of melody and pop songwriting finesse with his predilections for out-there sonic explorations. 'The Empyrian' is a modern-day psychedelic masterpiece, with narcotic, drifty textures and woozy, mellow arrangements. His lulling and starry cover of Tim Buckley's transcendent 'Song To The Siren' is apt and well-done, and 'Unreachable' is a trippy and floaty rock song packed with space and depth. 'Dark Light' begins introspective and ambient before transforming into an inspirational pop song (perhaps the closest to the RHCP he gets on this fine album). Other tunes are tuneful and flighty ('Heaven' is sweet and nicely orchestrated).
Frusciante's become a wholly confident and infinitely stronger songwriter since his rather embarrassing early albums (the result of a very horrific drug habit long since banished). 'The Empyrian' is the culmination of years of experience, and this is the sound of a man who's seen life from higher highs (and lower lows) than most of us rightfully should. He's a worldly-wise head with a need to move beyond mind and body, and this album is perfect for such space travels. (Record Collection)
John's personal site