Picks and Pans Review: Shadows Collide with People

updated 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

John Frusciante

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Singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea maybe the most famous Red Hot Chili Peppers, but guitarist John Frusciante has been the group's unsung hero since joining the Chili Peppers in 1988. Indeed, Frusciante, with his fluid guitar work and songwriting contributions, has been instrumental in the band's more mature, musical sound heard on releases like 2002's By the Way. On Frusciante's fourth solo CD, which improves upon 2001's To Record Only Water for Ten Days, tuneful tracks such as "Wednesday's Song" and "Song to Sing When I'm Lonely" evoke the kinder, gentler Chili Peppers of faves like "Under the Bridge," "Scar Tissue" and "Universally Speaking." Frusciante, who usually sings harmony for Kiedis, proves himself quite capable of taking the lead here. And he gets a little help from his friends Flea, who plays upright bass on "The Slaughter," and Chili Pepper Chad Smith, who plays drums throughout.

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