After that incredibly misjudged team-up with former Jane's Addiction freak, Dave Navarro, that led to "One Hot Minute" and a seemingly terminal drop in popularity, the Chilis are back to the line-up that brought us "Mother's Milk" and "Bloodsugarsexmagic". Many would have thought that it was too late for them to reclaim their position, but the incredible success of the 'Scar Tissue' single has proved the doubters very wrong.
"Californication" is classic Chilis, Flea's bass is back in centre stage, giving them back their seriously groovy funk thang, and John Frusciante has brought the guitar back to its position of support. Anthony Kiedis' voice is still spot-on, and his lyrics are the usual mix of sex, sex and a bit more sex. Aside from the sex, 'though, the theme of the album seems to be how fucked up California is, a favourite topic of theirs. It's hard to tell, but there could be the odd drug reference in there somewhere! I must say, though, that 'Purple Stain' goes a bit far in the weird sex stakes.
All in all, it's the Chilis as they should be, and, whether you're discovering them for the first time, or you want to remember what turned you onto them in the first place, this is for you. At the same time, music has moved on since 1991 and the Chilis don't have anything new to offer. Then again, neither do Aerosmith and they're still huge.
by Donnacha DeLong