John Frusciante enjoyed two stints as guitarist in Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1988-1992 and 1998-2009. Frusciante’s solo albums have a bit of a cult following and there’s quite a lot of them too, 14 in fact. Curtains was his eighth album, originally released in 2005. It features guest spots from Autolux drummer, Carla Azar, upright bassist Ken Wild and regular collaborator, Mars Volta and At The Drive-In guitarist, Omar Rodrigues-Lopez.
Limited Vinyl LP £23.99 RCM48959LP
Reissue LP on Record Collection Music, cut from the original analogue tapes at Bernie Grundman’s Mastering. Special edition dark red coloured vinyl for Europe only. Limited pressing of 1000 copies.
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- Coloured vinyl
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- Includes download code
It feels a bit odd saying that a record from a former Red Hot Chili Peppers member is one of our highest selling records of all-time (and possibly our biggest reissue ever), but Frusciante fans have been trying to get their hands on this coveted vinyl for almost 15 years now. The huge amount of devotion and affection surrounding ‘Curtains’ all becomes evident upon first spin.
During the 2004-05 period, Frusciante challenged himself to record five albums each with a distinctly different flavour. There’s the experimental psychedelia of ‘Shadows Collide With People’, the indie rock influenced ‘Inside of Emptiness’ and ‘The Will to Death’, his electronic collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer ‘A Sphere in the Heart of Silence’, and the final record of the series ‘Curtains’; his forlorn masterpiece of indie folk. Recorded on the floor of Frusciante’s living room with a few close friends and frequent collaborators, ‘Curtains’ sounds so intimate that it feels like you’re in that very room with them…
The opening strums of ‘The Past Recedes’ reveal the woody and unrefined tones of Frusciante’s battered acoustic guitar as he croons above the rhythmical chords with raw and vulnerable voice. John adds some melodica motifs over the loose riffing of Ken Wild’s upright bass, whilst Omar Rodriguez Lopez of The Mars Volta and At The Drive sporadically lends his gorgeous psychedelic guitar sketches. ‘Anne’ showcases Frusciante’s virtuoso playing through knotty chord movements and stop-start vocal patterns, erupting in a duel solo for the song’s final minute. Conversely, ‘The Real’ tempers and calms this with its subtle guitar plucks, steady rhythms and gorgeously self-harmonised vocals. ‘Your Warning’ sees Frusciante candidly painting a picture of neglected advice, pushing the solemn introspection characteristic of the record to its limit as he cries out ‘Endings are killing me slow / I only ask for this / Emptiness replace my soul’ for its final bars.
John’s battles with addiction, self-harm and depression have haunted him throughout his life and career. His substance abuse struggles have almost led to his demise on more than one occasion, they caused him to quit RHCP at their commercial peak, and his debut album was made with the sole purpose of funding his drug abuse. ‘Curtains’ cryptically reveals these struggles more-so than any of his solo outings through incredibly arranged and gorgeously performed songs influenced by Tim Buckley, Elliott Smith and Cat Stevens. It’s incredible to think that he recorded five records of such quality in under a year, and ‘Curtains’ is assuredly the best of the bunch.
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