The Red Hot Chili Peppers continue to scorch funk-rock earth with their eighth LP, "Californication." Much of what you'd expect is here; Anthony Keidis' soulfully distinctive voice and Flea's jackhammer bassline continue to set the Peppers' tones apart from the rest. The band's groove can still get you a speeding ticket, and the slower songs are a relaxing drive in the park.
There actually is very little new aural territory explored on "Californication." The first track, "Around the World," is tense and quick; electrifying bass duels with auctioneer-inspired vocals. "Easily" marches along to a digging, combatant beat and is more metallic than listeners may be used to. "Velvet Glove" and "Savior" go down like fine bourbon. The droning ballad "Porcelain" is as different as it is disappointing.
Overall, "Californication" is a must for fans and a big maybe for others. Even though there are parts that would have been better left unsung, the raging harmonics kick the record into overdrive. Lyrically, the Red Hot Chili Peppers remain a bit oddball, but hey -- you can't hear the message over the roar of the engine, anyway.