Funk-rock archaeology, with extra tracks and liner notes by Flea

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Red Hot Chili Peppers

FREAKY STYLEY

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THE UPLIFT MOFO PARTY PLAN

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MOTHER’S MILK

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CAPITOL

It’s a curious quirk of fate that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are at their most musically potent when they’re least innovative. Last year’s career-topping By The Way succeeded with a fairly traditional brand of Californian rock. But back in the ’80s, they invented the kind of smutty, jittery rap-rock that’s still so lucrative?and unappealing?today.

A good time for this extensive reissue programme, then, if only to confirm our old prejudices about the band. The eponymous 1984 debut is a tinny opener, dominated by Flea’s savagely irritating bass style. The following year’s Freaky Styley is an improvement, with the funk quotient upped by producer George Clinton and a surprisingly tolerable cover of Sly’s “If You Want Me To Stay”.

The more metallic Uplift Mofo from 1987 finds their trademark style fully formed: extreme masochists are directed to the desecration of “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. By 1989’s Mother’s Milk, MTV-boosted mega-fame and attendant drug disasters (including one dead guitarist) had arrived. Some live Hendrix covers tacked on the end provide scant reward for the diligent.