Review Summary: I forget the days that you told me to/ I was such a waste when I cut myself out
From The Sounds Inside had a somewhat unconventional conception. Created somewhere between the time of Frusciante’s recovery from his heroin addiction and the recording of To Record Only Water For Ten days the LP was released for free in August 2001 (not that you buy your music these days…), while the album title and artwork resulted from an online fan competition. From the Sounds Inside is a loose collection of barely produced 4-tracks that hark back to the rawness of Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-shirt which is often, but incorrectly appreciated by only the most die-hard of Frusciante fans.
“Take your face to the god/ no one works so hard to keep you/ outplay your hand before its your turn to fade out”; the opening lyrics of the first track So Would Have I are desolate as they are peculiar, an ambience augmented by a simple acoustic guitar and slowly evanescent distorted vocal effects. If you want to listen to From the Sounds Inside to cheer up, well, it aint gonna work. The melancholy continues on Three Thoughts I, in which a downtrodden acoustic riff lays a base for Frusciante’s past regrets, “Every action going down with murder/ everyday I want to kill my past”. Coming across as a downtrodden To Record Only Water For Ten Days, or even a sober Niandra LaDes From the Sounds Inside has a distinctive texture, a form of unprocessed sobriety unique from everything else he had written before or even to this date.
The lo-fi ramblings continue throughout, most tracks are short snippets into the almost mystical world of Frusciante. Murmur, which features Frusciante's irksome but haunting high pitched squeal perfectly demonstrates this crudeness in which two separately recorded tracks are crudely stitched together for the final cut like many other tracks clocks in at under the two minute mark. However, out of the seemingly endless abyss a gem appears. Like a flower in the deep snow The Battle of Time bounces in its fluorescent but somewhat crude synthpop vibe; layered harmonies, reminiscent of Niandra’s psychotic ramblings mount into a deliciously geeky synth solo. It all seems very polished for what is indeed a scrapbook of recordings, an anomaly that is rectified in the cleansing lyrics of the following track, Beat Down.
Perhaps John could have cut down on the excess to produce a more polished LP, but what makes From the Sounds Inside so enthralling are the oddities that one never hears on todays über-polished pop records; sound glitches, background interference's and the repetition of lyrics before correcting them mid verse (Low Birds) show the true human side of an artist. I’m not trying to be annoyingly arty here but From the Sounds Inside is a truly fascinating ramshackled curio, an insight into an enthralling personality demonstrating that perfection can sometimes be found in disorder.