Whoa! John Frusciante is a machine! He made total of seven albums during most of 2004. The boy loves to work. Personally, if it were me, I would just roll around in piles of money and rekindle drug addictions instead of making more music, but I guess thatís why heís there and Iím *sigh* here. Of course, Mr. Hard Work here did skimp a bit, Curtains
is only 33 minutes long. Still, he didnít waste any time in those 33 minutes, and made this album short, but very sweet. So sweet itís addictive, as sweet as a gummy bear that got maple syrup poured on it, run over by a chocolate truck on a candy cane lane in the city of Marshmallowville. Okay, now that I got all you fat kidsí attention with that candy odyssey, on with the review.
Though the album has been described as the acoustic album of his bunch of 2004 records, it still retains a unique sound unlike other typical acoustic projects. Frusciante still uses the various psychedelic elements sparsely from his previous works, such as his first two 90s albums, which were admittedly made for drug money while he was out of the Peppers. Ironically, the opening track, The Past Recedes
í gives the feel of a safe, Neil Young folk homage. That supposed blueprint is quickly abandoned in the second track, Lever Pulled
, where the unusual, vaguely incomplete song structures that are familiar to Curtains
takes place. Frusciante is quick to emphasize that this ainít no pussy footiní Jack Johnson shit
, by layering Lever Pulled
with gently rippled synthesizer, Latin sensation Omar Rodriguez-Lopezís piddling guitar noise, and abrasive guitar fuzz. Curtains
continues throughout using these sorts of odd supporting sounds, in different ways and varieties.
The hollow feel of the album (which can be credited to the fact that it was recorded in his living room with an 8-track recorder previously owned by the anarchy that is King Crimson
) makes an almost uncomfortably quiet atmosphere when Frusciante stops in one of is more rambling, but intriguing songs. Control
(the only song over four minutes) goes for a minute with Frusciante quickly stopping and starting the song with a sole acoustic guitar, before coming to a climax that blindsides the listener with violent drums oddly buried in the mix and electric guitar squeals. Though the song becomes energetic quickly, it still sounds hollow and fairly quiet. Anne
also uses a similar strategy of going from sprawling mess to majestic apex. Itís seemingly split up into three parts, the first two being ramblings amidst intricately picked chords, the third a booming melancholic burst of energy, possibly the best melody Johnnyís ever written, topped with two The Mars Volta
-approved guitar solos layered on top of each other.
Of course lead guitarists are sometimes known for their bad voices. Last time I heard Keith Richards sing... Well, Iím surprised Skeletor can sing at all, but the point is, it was disgusting. Fortunately thatís not the case with John Frusciante, who makes a good counterpart to Anthony Kiedisí funky, big man voice as heard in songs like Otherside
. Johnís voice is light, with a honky timbre to it that makes him sound a lot like Cat Stevens
, everyoneís favourite 70s folk-pop singer (even mine, believe it or not.) Indeed, John can make great vocal harmonies with himself as good as with the Chilisí lead singer, and these harmonies are used heavily on the album. This is most noticeable on The Real
and A Name
, where layers of howling Frusciantes make a prominent appearance. John uses this perfectly to his advantage, as if it was another one of his odd instruments to throw into the mix.
may be a short album, but every second of it is used precisely to make a beautifully unique album. Though it has its share of oddball moments, it also has some conventional songs on it to keep itself grounded, such as the piano lead Leap Your Ball
(which ironically, probably has the strangest melody of the album.) The only thing I donít like about the album, is that it is short, strangely enough. Itís great as it is, but I imagine it couldíve been longer without damaging itself. Wishful thinking, I guess. Just like how all you fat kids are still thinking about that wretched gummy bear.