John Frusciante The Empyrean

John Frusciante The Empyrean
There's always the question of which facet of John Frusciante will manifest for any given release. Will it be the John who effortlessly breezes off iconic pop riffs while trying to sneak psychedelic effects into increasingly homogenised radio fodder or will it be the experimental pop near-genius who almost lost himself to drugs before coming to terms with the trajectory of his creative potential through communicating with spirits? Turns out, John invited all of himself to the party for The Empyrean. It's Frusciante's most consistent and well-composed album since his collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer, A Sphere in the Heart of Silence, from his rich 2004 series of six albums released within six months. While The Empyrean doesn't push nearly as far into such stark experimental landscapes, Klinghoffer's touch as primary collaborator can be felt all over the record. A nine-minute, syrupy guitar piece isn't the most engaging opener and its length and the bloating of a few other pieces are the album's only weaknesses. Frusciante proves again and again that he has some of the most powerful pipes around and can write circles around his RHCP band-mates. Flea pops in to leave his distinct funk fingerprints in the necessary locations but it's all a matter of enhancing the smattering of styles Frusciante tackles while taking on the search for musical heaven by any means necessary. (Record)