Shadows Collide with People (2004)

Mar 1, 2004
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Shadows-Collide-With-People-274x274After returning in the role of Lazarus to the long-running L.A. school play called RHCP, John Frusciante had a star turn in repurposing Californication and By the Way as wise, unwanky meditations on the mellow gold of life after hedonism. Parts of Shadows Collide with People align nicely with those records, both sonically and thematically, but the album is really an exercise in focusing, for Frusciante to ground his self-made stuff in the same resignation and emotion that makes the Chili Peppers’ latter period more resonant than, say, “Magic Johnson”. For Shadows, Frusciante has finally harnessed the energy and unqualified honesty that pulsed underneath the wandering Syd Barrett-ness of his weird work, and applied them to a reedy, vaguely psychedelic, and consistently melodic collection of songs. Heaven, pain, swirl, death, time, belief: on Shadows Collide with People, these are the splotches of color that burst most before his retinas.
He probably never was, but Shadows proves Frusciante’s unconcern with upholding his oft-referenced stature as The Most Awesomest Guitarist of His Generation, or whatever. Yeah, yeah, there are electric guitars here– the fame rumination “Second Walk” ends with a great solo full of fuzzy tone and bent notes to crack Carlos Santana’s skull– but mostly, Frusciante and principal collaborator Josh Klinghoffer (of Bicycle Thief) indulge in the tricks and tracks of a full-fledged studio, building sparkly platforms for mercurial thoughts and snatches of meaning from whatever instruments and styles seem right in the moment. […] [/one_half]