John Frusciante
Outsides


3.5
great

Review

by tom USER (12 Reviews)
August 29th, 2013 | 254 replies


Release Date: 08/27/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: all that is here will be sunlight

If last year’s PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone taught us anything, it’s that John Frusciante is essentially done with rock music. Pop though? Not so much. At its core, buried under the layers of bleeps, bloops, and scattershot drumbeats, were six or seven very good pop songs. Outsides is the natural evolution of that sound, seeing Frusciante pick up where he left off on PBX and delving even deeper into the world of electronic music, in the process completely abandoning any semblance of pop norms or traditional songwriting structures.

This isn’t necessarily to say that Outsides is an inaccessible record; indeed, the angel choir and bass groove in opener ‘Same’ are as infectious as they are bizarre, inviting the listener into the weird and wonderful space within. Let’s talk about ‘Same’ for a moment: a hypnotic ten minute instrumental epic home to a guitar solo which owes far more to the dissonant madness of Robert Fripp than older influences such as, say, Jimi Hendrix or Bernard Sumner. There is something inherently thrilling in hearing Frusciante go over the edge this way as he chops, changes, and shreds with reckless abandon. This is JF on top form, nailing the perfect balance of synths, grooves, and guitar to create something special. Where the EP stumbles is ‘Breathiac’, a short yet disruptive instrumental piece which targets the brain rather than the heart and ends up falling flat. It would be unfair to pin this on the lack of vocals - some of the most emotionally affecting songs in this discography are instrumentals (‘Ramparts’, ‘With Love’, ‘Falling’ et al.) – moreso it seems to be flaunting some form of complex rhythmic theory (or something) and ultimately fails as a listenable composition. This area of production is where Frusciante still has much room for improvement. The ideas are there but lacking finesse, too often slipping into ham-fisted Aphex Twin worship.

Now that may seem harsh, but it’s a misstep easily forgiven when backed up with a track like ‘Shelf’. This here is the true gem of the record and is exactly the sort of song that vindicates Frusciante on this sometimes questionable venture of his. Without getting into tedious details, suffice to say you’ll get three minutes of fun danceable jammy goodness before abruptly changing gear into full-blown Fruphoria™ mode where everything just clicks. Beats, grooves, choirs and synths all come together over a gorgeous chord progression to elevate the listener to that next level before fading out and making you hit replay again and again and again.

What we’ve got here is yet another worthy addition to this fine discography. A disjointed, messy, occasionally frustrating yet ultimately rewarding listen. What it lacks in cohesion and polish is redeemed by those familiar flashes of JF brilliance which are again, at long last, occurring with greater and greater frequency. After a dozen or so spins I can’t help but feel that John is on the cusp of something truly great here. Outsides may be just a stepping stone, but it’s a pretty damn good one.



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
willi (2)
John goes nowhere....


Comments:Add a Comment 
tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


bear with me here fellas i've had a lot of wine and no dinner

'same': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLlDGroJbCg
'shelf': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agSikMeeX4g

Digging: Broods - Evergreen

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Fruphoria™"
I lol'd. Pos'd of course, ace review.

Digging: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


it's a real thing man!

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Of course, I never doubted it. Speaking of Fruphoria, I finally jammed Stadium in full a couple times and goddamn he's on fire in that album. They all are actually, there's maybe 3 or 4 songs I didn't dig on the whole two discs. I mean that's like 24/25 good songs in one album how the fuck is that even possible omg

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


right on dude yeah he just tears shit up on there

dem solos on 'turn it again'

'hey' is prob my fave rhcp song true story

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think If and Hard to Concentrate were my favourites, both of them so fucking beautiful. I wish Kiedis would actually try with his lyrics more often because when he actually has a subject to write about he pens some beautiful shit.

I would 5 it right now if it weren't for Snow (Hey Oh), Charlie, and So Much I.

manosg
August 29th 2013


6093 Comments


John Frusciante is excellent agreed. I might check this one in due time.

Review is well written, pos.

Digging: John Coltrane - Ballads

adarkishman
August 29th 2013


534 Comments


jahaaahaah nice3eee

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


thanks bros

dude rowan wtf charlie rocks???

btw have you heard this?

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry dude Charlie bored me. And yeah I heard this when it first streamed on YouTube, I remember you telling me what you thought of it before I listened, but I haven't jammed since then.

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


swee

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will jam it again soon man. Then again I gotta jam all his stuff again soon cos I haven't really listened to him since I went through all his albums. Sphere at the Heart of Silence is still the best though.

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


sphere is amazing yea

avonbarksdale221
August 29th 2013


8231 Comments


fru·pho·ri·a [froo-fawr-ee-uh, -fohr-]
noun
1.
a state of intense happiness and self-confidence induced by listening to John Frusciante's music: She was flooded with Fruphoria as she danced on the podium to the second half of 'Shelf'

Fucking lol man. Sweet review :]

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Josh > other people.
Actually, Josh > all other people.
Did you create me a word for Josh's brilliance yet?

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


cheers avon bro

nah rowan man still thinkin about that one

it's ok we have time as long as it's ready before the next dot hacker record!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2013


3399 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, pos. I have to listen to this again, it's been a while now.

Also, there is a recent cool interview with John over at Billboard, if you haven't checked it out already - http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5657748/john-frusciante-qa-on-his-electronic-evolution-and-why-hes-done-with-rock

Digging: Amplifier - Mystoria

Rowan5215
August 29th 2013


26459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@tommy sweet, hopefully Dot Hacker won't be too long I NEED MORE.

ButteryBiscuitBass
August 29th 2013


10009 Comments


Sweet review tommy old mucker, love your writing style.

tommygun
August 29th 2013


24932 Comments


@ buttery - wow thank you so much, i chucked in a bernard sumner reference just for you :]

@ raul - yeah man very interesting interview, he really just gives no fucks anymore haha



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