John Frusciante

The Empyrean (Record Collection)

Rating: NNNN

It’s nothing special to see a guitar player from a famous band put out a solo project. What’s rare is for that musician to have such a distinguished career outside of his day job. John Frusciante, the guy responsible for some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ best riffs, has released 10 increasingly daring solo records.

His latest, The Empyrean, is an engaging collection of brilliant soundscapes, fancy guitar work and some intriguing electronica flourishes. Vocally, Frusciante delivers a few infectious melodies, but it’s the instrumentation that’s really the focal point. The stunning wall of sound in Unreachable and the odd shift from noise rock to orchestral music in Central show why he’s considered one of the best guitarists around. Add some blues, gospel and straight-up rock and you have one release destined for repeat.

Top track: Unreachable

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