Record Review - 4 April 11 2001

John Frusciante, the guitarist who helped boost the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the musical stratosphere with albums such as Mother's Milk, Bloodsugarsexmagic and Californication, has used his three solo records as a sort of artistic pressure-release valve for his other musical interests. For a man who dropped out of high school to dedicate himself to playing the guitar and now fills his California ranch-style home with rooms of instruments, there's plenty of musical ability available to express his emotions. And for a man who battled a heroin addiction to the brink of death — then survived rehab and a separation from the Chili Peppers — there's also plenty of experience to draw from. It makes for a fulfilling solo album, To Record Only Water for Ten Days, that drips with real emotion.

Don't expect the Peppers here — Frusciante's solo expedition was born out of his separation from the group. Reminiscent of the U.N.K.L.E. track that paired Radiohead's Thom Yorke with DJ Shadow's electronic beats and roaring guitar, Frusciante's latest effort has an eerie pitch to it, from the background synthesizers to the beat machines and the strange, echoing vocals.

Gone is the head-bobbing punk-funk of the Chili Peppers, replaced by a David Gray-like atmosphere that ruminates and reverberates complex feelings and sounds. Where Frusciante's vocals may sour, the guitar work soars (who buys a John Frusciante album for the vocals anyway?). Indeed, Frusciante's voice is his guitar. What emanates from his vocal chords is almost inconsequential, with his six-string work stretched to the limits in search of possible tones. From the choppy acoustic chords of "Representing" to the beautiful acoustic arpeggios of "Invisible Movement" and the pop-infused "Moments Have You," Frusciante gets to stretch his musical legs in ways he can't with the Chili Peppers.??

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