A 33 year career in music is nothing to be sniffed at, especially if you can stay consistently relevant in that time span. That is sadly not the case for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
2002's 'By The Way' was probably the band at peak mainstream appeal, but not since 'Californication' have they done anything particularly interesting or novel. That was 17 years ago.
Incidentally, 'Californication' marked the return of on-off guitarist John Frusciante. He left the band for a second time in 2009, before they released their tenth album 'I'm With You' in 2010 with previous collaborator Josh Klinghoffer. Did anyone even listen to 'I'm With You'?
And will anyone listen to 'The Getaway'? The answer is a resounding "no", the moral of the story being the Chilis are nothing without Frusciante. This eleventh album - an apparent return to glory - is so painfully average, they may as well have recorded the literal sound of a dead horse being flogged.
Without Frusciante, it falls on bassist Flea to try and create some interest with funk basslines that vaguely hint of better days; drummer Chad Smith shuffles along nicely enough; and the vocals of Anthony Kiedis are tired and lifeless as he slowly morphs into that puppet of Iggy Pop on the insurance ads.
The result is an album absolutely devoid of thrills. Perhaps the only exception is Go Robot, which attempts to update the Chilis sound: an initial funk groove is gradually accompanied by subtle use of electronics and hand claps, even if - in typical fashion - the lyrics are just a thinly veiled sexual metaphor.
Elsewhere, though, the music doesn't funk, it doesn't rock, it doesn't even pop. It simply limbers along for 13 tracks, the corpse of the 90s dragged out at half speed without a jolt of electricity. Go Robot aside, not one track is noteworthy - for good or for bad.
'The Getaway', then, is not the sound of a band ageing gracefully. The Chilis have committed a worse crime: of being unimaginably, boringly mediocre.
* Go Robot
* Nope, that's it.
Listen: 'The Getaway' is out now, if you really, really must listen.