The Red Hot Chili Peppers are back after a five-year hiatus, and they have brought a different sound with them. The Southern California rockers’ newest cut, Dark Necessities, launched today, and it melds the band’s stereotypical funk-rock sound with piano instead of shredding lead guitar.
The five-minute single is the first song to be made public off of the band’s upcoming album The Getaway, which will come out via Warner Brothers on June 17.
The Getaway will be the first album from the band since 1989’s Mother’s Milk that wasn’t produced by pop and hip-hop icon Rick Rubin, and the personnel change is likely the biggest reason the single sounds so much different than the band’s past material.
Instead of Rubin, the Chili Peppers employed the talents of Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich for mixing work and Dangermouse for production, a pair that combined to lend the group a much more developed aesthetic, at least on this first single — a big leap from the stripped-down sound of previous efforts from the band.
The song features female background vocals, subtly layered instrumentation, and a less in-your-face drum beat than is typical of the Chili Peppers, but it does retain the classic slap bass sound of the group’s famed bass player, Flea.
Time and album sales will tell whether the new direction was a good move for the band, but so far it feels like a fresh reboot — a reinvention of a band that many people love, but whose material was thought by many to be on a stalling trajectory.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers begin a tour in support of the new album this month in Ohio, and will be on the road both nationally and internationally for the entire summer, when they will play virtually all festival dates. Despite the official mid-June release date, it is likely that the group will perform much of the new material during their early tour dates.