I am torn. On one hand I love to see the progression of the Peppers. They have grown with their aging audience. Their sound is much more accessible to the 30-50 year old crowd. I wouldn't call it easy listening, but it certainly doesn't have the same edge it did 25 years ago.
On the other hand I do miss Chad Smith, and Flea banging on their instruments.
They have replaced some of that aggressive playing with a lot of melody, and surprise surprise a lot of piano. Elton John even sits in for one song.
The band hired a new producer for this album. The first time since Mothers Milk. The sound is different, but it's still the Peppers.
I'm warming up to the new guitar player. He plays some nice, logical licks. Flea broke his arm during the recording so he doesn't always sound at the top of his game. If I have one complaint it is that Chad Smith's drumming sounds as if it has been replaced at times with a drum machine. I hate drum machines in a rock band.
I will listen to this album a lot in the future. The RHC Peppers have become an institution in the way Kiss, and the Stones are. They just plug, and play new members, and continue on. I'm very happy that the Peppers made another relevant record.
I give this album 3.5 stars out of 5