Return of The Dream Canteen
Return of the dream canteen is not only the second album released by the Red Hot Chili Peppers this year but the second double album from the band in 2022. Their previous album Unlimited Love was released on April first of this year with ROTDC following just six months later on October fourteenth. This sudden boom in activity came as a pleasant surprise to many fans of the band, though with so much music being released in such a short time, the question of quality over quantity cannot be ignored. This review may seem slightly delayed, though I wanted to have a chance to live with the album for a while so I could listen to it with full attention a few times, as well as casually.
ROTDC is definitely more similar to Unlimited Love than any of the band’s other albums, though ROTDC is more melody-focused and psychedelic while Unlimited love was more rhythmic and had more recognizable bass. The bass player of the band, Flea, and the drummer, Chad Smith have always been an impeccable rhythm section, and their work on ROTDC is no exception. They definitely have a more understated role on this album which allowed the band’s guitar player, John Frusciante, to take a step forward and be a very solid secondary melodic and rhythmic instrument across the whole album. Flea, Frusciante, and Smith are masters at writing their parts so that each one enhances the next. In the past, this has meant that their parts contrast one another in such a way that it makes the drums, guitar, and bass almost weave in and out of one another, though on this album they almost move as one unit as if the parts were meant to complement rather than contrast one another. Frusciante’s guitar solos on this album are very similar to the ones he has been delivering in the band’s live performances. They are soaring, whaling, and extremely cool, though at times they seem to lack a theme within each song, and over the course of the album, the solos begin to bleed together. That being said there hasn’t been a moment when I’ve been listening to the album and found myself just waiting for a solo to end, they are still enjoyable.
In my opinion the band’s singer, Anthony Kiedis is the stand-out member on ROTDC, in a good way. Kiedis doesn’t deliver any out-of-the-ordinary vocals that wouldn’t be expected by anyone who has heard Unlimited Love, though what he does deliver are many memorable vocals melodies that are great to sing along with. He plays it relatively safe on this album, but not in a boring way, the songs have an almost familiar feeling because of this. Lyrically this album combines Keidis’ two most famous lyrical styles, the poetic, and the light-hearted. ROTDC doesn’t contain the most thought-provoking lyrics in the band’s history, but they aren’t nonsense either. The words still have meaning and will offer listeners some ideas to reflect on.
With the album’s seventeen tracks and one hour and fifteen minute run time it may take a couple of listens to be able to recall every song, though I found that the album became more enjoyable with each listen. I have listened to the entirety of the album with the songs in their intended order as well as on shuffle, and album order is definitely the way to go, it has a good flow from track to track. Overall this album was nothing mind-blowing, though I continue to thoroughly enjoy it each time I play it. It is an easy, and relatively laid-back listen and I recommend it to any Red Hot Chili Peppers fan or fan of alternative rock with a funky twist.
Personal favorite tracks:
Fake as Fu@k
Bag of Grins
Cary Me Home