No longer a sidekick
The stereotypical band breakup has transformed the music landscape into what it is today. Without the classic tabloid drama, there would be no room for original music. Instead, as listeners, people’s top music tracks would all have the same lyrics and manufactured sounds. To Be One With You by Pluralone is a product of this drama.
Pluralone is the stage name Josh Klinghoffer (former Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist) has chosen to use as a moniker to launch the next chapter in his musical career. After RHCP re-recruited former bandmate John Frusciante for their new album, Klinghoffer amicably split off onto the solo path to creating an original sound of his own. When his new album released while being a Chili Pepper in late 2019, Klinghoffer’s eventual departure from the band allowed for his solo career to begin.
As a hearty mix of melodious vibrations and moods, To Be One With You is everything missing from the Chili Peppers’ oeuvre. Klinghoffer’s multi-instrumental composition provides a soft, yet magnetic sound many RHCP fans are not used to. Songs such as “Save,” with its delicate piano intro, and “Was Never There” contain a rhythmic entrancement unparalleled to Klinghoffer’s former work in the past, though “Was Never There” does include Flea and his classic slap bass tune.
But this album has a new sound, with a slight hint of his previous work. Its first track, “Barreling,” starts with a fast-alternative synth beat complimented with a hearty piano tune. The haunting echoey voice of Klinghoffer sets the mood for the album immediately. The second track, “Rat Bastards at Every Turn,” is much heartier, almost aggressive with a heavy piano and a clap beat overshadowed by high vocals. This style is much different but shows us that Klinghoffer had more to offer creatively that he wasn’t producing in his past music career. To contrast, “Shade,” the album’s main single, has more to offer creatively. With soft twangy guitar riffs, it quickly cracks into a vibrant percussion beat (thanks to early Chili Pepper Jack Irons) along with Klinghoffer’s spider-like guitar grooves. This song is both old and new, containing the entire scope of Klinghoffer as a musician.
With “Mourning,” tracks begin to have synthesized instruments and a more refreshed sound from previous songs. Electric drums and a soft piano accompany Klinghoffer’s hollowed voice in a song that seems to be forever escalating in volume. It flows nicely into “Crawl,” even though the song title is ironic in the name. This song has the most active melody thus far, with a heart-racing drum beat the album needed much earlier. Nevertheless, the synthesized beat is a nice addition to this song. Though the soft piano returns in the following track, “The Ride.” Klinghoffer’s breaching vocals from previous tracks make this song somehow louder, with the rhythmic consistency necessary to balance each note.
At last, the aptly named track “Segue” closes the album with an aggressive electro-beat and sophisticated synths to intrigue any listener. It’s guitar-driven sound found on many previous tracks primes the song, but needs to have been done earlier in the album. Though whatever Pluralone might be segueing towards with his crisp and air-tight final track is nothing short of fascinating.
As a debut solo album, Josh Klinghoffer’s (a.k.a. Pluralone) To Be One With You proves that he is capable of many things. Early in the album, he shows us that he is more than a former Chili Pepper, but also a multi-talented musician with more to offer than as a sidekick to many legends of modern rock. His tracks prove he is more than a mere guitarist by centering his music around a keyboard, but this tends to overcompensate his music in later songs. The electricity of “Crawl” and “Shade” is needed much sooner and in greater volume. Though despite these inconsistencies, Klinghoffer proves to be worthy as a soloist, and one can only wish him well on the solo-musician path as Pluralone.