Review Summary: A clean Frusciante's first work for his love of music and not of drugs
A man who has seen more high’s and low’s than a child’s favourite yo-yo, one who has sniffed more substances than a drug squad dog, and one who’s injected more than a doctor during a looming flu epidemic, presents us with his third album, in the form of ‘To Record Water For Only Ten Days’. Although above is a gross bordering on pretentious overstatement, John Frusciante has had more than his fair share of experience in the world of drugs, and his third above mentioned record is the first presented to the listener where Frusciante is clean.
A man who drew great inspiration from ex Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak has gone on to prove not only a worthy replacement, but one who has grown superior in every department, a claim that even the biggest Slovak fans cannot disagree with out of hand. His ability as a competent guitarist is shattered in his solo releases, as he proves that he has at least another bow to his name, let alone more strings to his existing one. The simplistic style he adopts in the Chili Peppers couldn’t have prepared me for the suprising beauty and diversity that ‘To Record...’ possesses.
His first album demonstrating songs with an electronica feel, ‘To Record Water For Only Ten Days’ sees Frusciante encorporate alot of synth into his music, with most songs radiating the effect of Frusciante being far away whilst preaching to the listener. Prime examples of songs with this airy feel include Remain and With No One, with the former being a snyth driven masterpeice that finishes with a touching guitar part which leaves you begging for more.
The most noticable thing about ‘To Record...’ is arguably its biggest strength too, as it’s ability for each song to run seemlessly into the next without the track itself seeming forgetable or unimportant is admirable. The delightful musical interludes Ramparts and Murderers provide a much needed calming influence as is the amount of emotion present on ‘To Record...’ can at times make you wonder how someone can convey such heartfelt emotions using only a guitar and some simple synth equipment.
Both Going Inside and Invisible Movement are particularly emotional, with both reflecting his dark heroin plagued days. On the former we hear that; ‘...there will come a time, when time goes out the window’, and on the latter we are presented with the everyday struggle of drug addiction, with John Reminiscing; ‘Live a life when you’ve rolled over and died, I don’t feel pain, I don’t travel this line’.
Aside from the lyrical sensitivity demonstrated, the album is permeated with a cornucopia of beats that would feel at home on a classic dance track, let alone a rock album. The erratic skipping beat present on Remain is just one of many, as it intergrates perfectly with the guitar, providing a relaxed backdrop that in turn, platforms the crescendo that also includes whirring; almost heavenly snyth.
However, as with most great things, nothing is perfect. The high pitched bordering on whiny style adopted by Frusciante in some songs may not appeal to first time listeners, and may steer them elsewhere. A prime example of this style is on Wind Up Space, which although touching and personal, can portray itself as irritating filler that is in danger of falling into the category of being grating to listen to. On the whole though this is thankfully kept to a minimum, and instead we are treated to various solo’s and beats that provide both energy and personality in abundance.
They say there is a fine line between madness and genious, and Frusciante has crossed the boundry, taken a good long look at the gaping precipice that is madness, pondered, and decided it was not for him. Instead a man stands before us with the title of musical genious, one that is well and truly deserved. Even though i write this piece with the benefit of hindsight, the signs were present in his third release that greater things were to come, and duly he has delivered.
The First Season