The Red Hot Chili Peppers are having fun in 2022. After Unlimited Love, released seven months ago, the Californians are following up with Return Of The Dream Canteen, certainly their best album in a long time. Why? Because its raw, stripped-back vibes drop us right in the middle of a hefty, super-controlled jam session. Of course, the two records were recorded at the same time, but the band clearly wanted to deliver two distinct musical intentions—and it works. It’s obviously impossible to escape their adolescent ravings about ‘high school’, and tedious teachers on the single ‘Eddie’. But the main thing is that the second half is all Stratocaster, which entails a series of pretty adventurous ideas. For example, there are two tracks which use electronic drums: ‘My Cigarette’ (which is almost reminiscent of Prince) and the TR-808 cowbell-clad ballad that is ‘In The Snow’. These pleasantly surprising choices are mixed together with the usual irony of ‘Peace and Love’, the whispered pop delirium of ‘Shoot Me A Smile’, and of course the essential funk-rock urges on ‘Afterlife’ or on the single ‘Tippa My Tongue’. Like its predecessor, Return Of The Dream Cantine is produced by Rick Rubin, who clearly pushed the band to remove any sense of artifice and thus contributed to making this album such a great success in terms of its composition and arrangement.