Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, political unrest, and wildfires raging across the western United States, Josh Klinghoffer hunkered down and found the inspiration to complete the sophomore album for his latest project, Pluralone. The release, aptly titled I Don’t Feel Well, comes on the heels of Pluralone’s critically-acclaimed debut album, To Be One With You, and a slew of seven inch releases containing b-sides from the album’s studio sessions. At just 40 years old, Klinghoffer has amassed a resume which dwarfs even the most seasoned musical veterans. He became the youngest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee at 32 as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While best known for his decade long role with that band, which came to an unexpected end in December 2019, his credentials extend back to his teenage years. He’s been a member of groups like Ataxia, Warpaint, and The Bicycle Thief, and he’s toured and recorded as a session musician with notable artists including PJ Harvey, Beck, Butthole Surfers, and Gnarls Barkley. He also fronts the group Dot Hacker, with frequent collaborators and musical heavyweights Jonathan Hischke, Clint Walsh, and Eric Gardner. Recording and releasing music in the age of COVID-19 provides some unique challenges, the most glaring of which may be the inability to perform music in a live setting. Pluralone was set to perform publicly for the first time in 2020 by supporting Pearl Jam on their North American “Gigaton” tour, one of the first major tours to be postponed due to the virus. While live events are still on hold, seemingly indefinitely, Klinghoffer has kept himself busy during his time in quarantine by recording videos of various covers and stripped down versions of tunes from To Be One With You, sitting in with Pearl Jam for a live stream, and paying tribute to Joe Strummer with an acoustic cover of “Rudie Can’t Fail” during a virtual fundraiser event on Strummer’s birthday.
In some ways, the upcoming LP seems like a natural progression of the Pluralone project, just as dynamic and fluid in its arrangements, but more focused in its execution. Written and recorded on a tight schedule, due in part to social distancing limitations, the approach resulted in a more cohesive and consistent work. As on To Be One With You, Klinghoffer leans heavily on piano and keyboards for the foundation of most songs. I Don’t Feel Well is a reflection of the trying times we find ourselves in. It is often dark and reflective, but with a glimmer of hope and underlying themes of solidarity, something we could use a bit more of these days. According to Rolling Stone, advance single “The Night Won’t Scare Me” is “a sprawling bit of piano-driven rock, cut with blazing guitars and anchored by a gripping vocal performance from Klinghoffer.” The full LP is due on October 16.
RIYL: Bob Forrest, John Frusciante, Bicycle Thief, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Atoms For Peace
Label: ORG Music
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