Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold Review


It has been two years since one of the worlds biggest bands released their last set of material with their St. Cecilia EP in 2015 and another year since their last album Sonic Highways from 2014. When they released the first single from Concrete and Gold; ‘Run’ took some people by surprise and since then a steady steam of material and details have emerged from upcoming ninth studio album. Most notably is Greg Kurstin as producer. In recent years he’s worked with Adele, Sia and Ellie Goulding. Despite having little to no experience recording Rock music prior to Dave Grohl seeking him out, he described him as “a fucking genius” and the key to unlocking a larger Foo Fighters sound. Greg has now worked with The Shins and Liam Gallagher. Given how Sonic Highways proved a better documentary series than an album, the band wanted to come back strong with a proper album crammed full of ideas and influences.

Echoed, ringing riffs open ‘Run’ before a pacing percussion signals the start of a rabid and snarling piece of hard rock. From Dave Grohl’s screeches to the wiry lead riffs ahead of the grinding rhythms, the song kicks and screams and kicks hard. In an instant, they have the ability to turn melodic with echoed harmonies, backing vocals and Dave’s typically easy tunefulness. It is not going to be the best track you’ll hear this year, but the Foo Fighters have typically delivered a high octane track with added aggression whilst retaining the ability for melody amongst the heavy sounds. ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ has a different sound to it, an essence of composed and considered music that is given away with the Beatle-esque harmonies that open and signpost the track. The song is restrained, whilst still packing a punch within it’s steady confines with grinding riffs driving the chorus and strung out pieces in the verses. It is within this space that you get a greater feel for Dave Grohl’s songwriting. In this case ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ ponders all the life out there in space and how “we have to get our shit together” on earth “to survive this universe full of life” ‘The Line’ is the group plying their anthemic sound with this sing-a-long track; a matured ‘Times Like These’ if you will. It continues the trend along with the other singles as each offers up a subtle change in sound and delivery. The latest single opens with spread riffs echoing into the background with Grohl’s hushed tones before bursting into light with a steady, but full six piece arrangment of clear, distorted and lead guitar parts entwined with a charged bass and siren-like keys. As ever, Taylor Hawkins holds his own behind the drum kit to back up the fuller sound the band now deliver. 

‘Arrows’ is a track that rings out into the open space the instrumentation generates via a more distant recorded sound. Though it is still a typical piece of Hard Rock, it is less immediate in nature and this gives lisence for Dave’s vocals to be recorded in a whirring fashion to fade back into the instrumentation. An example of the difference created from small production changes. The title track is an intruiging one. It hints at an Industrial sound with grinding and dragging guitars with the distorted, gentle vocals. This is set up to calmly open up into a lighter sound of harmonious backing vocals and more open riffs. These steep changes in tone are something that they accentuate as the song goes on. A nice shift in tone and great way to close the album. ‘La Dee Da’ has verses of swagger and shuffling progression that meets with a screeching chorus. Tracks like ‘Dirty Water’ are reminiscent of Greg Kurstin’s The Bird and the Bee with their breezy melodies and light harmonies. The track then bursts into a driving piece of distorted electronica and guitar. Both sound good in isolation but prove to be an unrecognisable pair in the same track. That sums up this album. All of the ideas for the album provide results, but these emerge in the wrong places or only for fleeting moments. When paired an ever confident delivery and with the strong set of singles you have a good album, yet you know that the Foo Fighters are capable of making a great album again; they’ve just got to get their ideas in order. 

Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold = 7/10

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Foo Fighters – The Line

With their ninth studio album Concrete and Gold due for a release on Friday, we’re taking a look at the band’s final single before this. ‘The Line’ is the group plying their anthemic sound with this sing-a-long track; a matured ‘Times Like These’ if you will. It continues the trend along with the other singles as each offers up a subtle change in sound and delivery. The latest single opens with spread riffs echoing into the background with Grohl’s hushed tones before bursting into light with a steady, but full six piece arrangment of clear, distorted and lead guitar parts entwined with a charged bass and siren-like keys. As ever, Taylor Hawkins holds his own behind the drum kit to back up the fuller sound the band now deliver. This album certainly has a greater focus than their last project and though not wildly different, they’re utilising their bigger sound to good effect. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Foo Fighters – The Sky Is A Neighbourhood

The Foo Fighters will release their ninth studio album Concrete & Gold on September 15th. ‘Run’ was the first single from the album and saw the band letting go of all restraint to produce the musical equivalent of a Michael Bay film. It was still a great track, just one that we all know they could produce in their sleep. Their latest single has a different sound to it, an essence of composed and considered music that is given away with the Beatle-esque harmonies that open and signpost the track. The song is restrained, whilst still packing a punch within it’s steady confines with grinding riffs driving the chorus and strung out pieces in the verses. It is within this space that you get a greater feel for Dave Grohl’s songwriting. In this case ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ ponders all the life out there in space and how “we have to get our shit together” on earth “to survive this universe full of life”. I hope for more of these ponderous tracks for the upcoming effort of this giant of a band. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Foo Fighters – Run

It has been two years since one of the worlds biggest bands released material with their St. Cecilia EP in 2015 and another year since their last album Sonic Highways from 2014. Their new single ‘Run’ took some people by surprise though people have been expecting some new material and is likely to form part of an upcoming ninth studio album. It opens with those echoed, ringing riffs before a pacing percussion signals the start of a rabid and snarling piece of hard rock. From Dave Grohl’s screeches to the wiry lead riffs ahead of the grinding rhythms, the song kicks and screams and kicks hard. In an instant, they have the ability to turn melodic with echoed harmonies, backing vocals and Dave’s typically easy tunefulness. It is not going to be the best track you’ll hear this year, but the Foo Fighters have typically delivered a high octane track with added aggression whilst retaining the ability for melody amongst the heavy sounds. 

Owen Riddle

EP Review – Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia

The legends that are the Foo Fighters only go on to further their on-going perception as the nicest band around with their new free five track EP. St Cecilia is named after the hotel in Austin, Texas that they recorded these five tracks at and the Saint is the patron saint of musicians of course. The band also dedicated the EP to the victims of the Paris attacks, something which Dave Grohl’s friend Josh Homme was caught up in at the Bataclan theatre that night.

 

The EP in general is the band at their classic best with euphoric song progressions and heavyweight melodies and this is demonstrated best on the title track. The track swings from the rhythmic hooks of the chorus to the bulkier sections of the verses where the guitars are given a more free reign. Dave and Taylor Hawkins team up again for their trademark harmonies that run through the whole track to complete a optimistic piece of music. ‘Sean’ is a track echoing their earlier, rapid sound with an added kick behind it. ‘Savoir Breath’ is a keen play on words and is a track bordering on Heavy Metal which the band relishes in as we’ve seen in their documentary album Sonic Highways from last year. ‘Iron Rooster’ provides a change of pace in a more simple acoustic setting for a more considered and reflective track with Grohl’s vocals accompanied by a neatly places riffs and piano chords. ‘The Neverending Sigh’ is brilliant piece of unrestricted hard rock music with the riffs hitting peak after peak and the rhythm unrelenting in it’s pace.

 

For a free EP, Saint Cecilia is well worth getting your hands on as the Foo Fighters deliver some nuggets of their classic sound and indulge in a few variations too.

 

 

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Sunday Suggestion – Foo Fighters – Everlong

Everlong Foo Fighters Album Foo fighters

Back in the Christmas of 1996, Dave Grohl was starting work on a new track based around a new riff that he’d been formulating and a lyrical material on departing previous relationships and entering new ones. By August 1997 one of the greatest Post-Grunge and Alternative tracks of all time was born. The eleventh track from the Foo Fighter’s second studio LP The Colour and The Shape opens with a fade in of the lightly rotating rhythm section riffs that are swiftly layered over with a loose distortion and these are swept over by Dave’s smooth and out of focus vocal that is charged into a rough and churning chorus through the soaring guitars and the growing snarl of the vocals. It’s a track with energy, yet depth and varied production from the slightly dazed to the rough. A faultless track.

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways Review

Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters have now unveiled what they, themselves have hailed as their most ambitious album yet with their eighth studio album Sonic Highways that has seen them travel across the United States to the cornerstones of American music and culture that has not only been documented in the album, but in the form of a HBO documentary with a plethora of guests, opinions and of course locations from which they recorded each particular track. This is enough expenditure and talk to get even a band as established as the Foo Fighters under a bit of pressure upon the album’s release; pressure that’s even truer given the success of the 2011’s Wasting Light, but have they lived up to the promise and promotion?

They start off with Chicago in ‘Something From Nothing’. The tracks opens with a lapping and slightly distorted riff and Grohl’s slightly muted and broken up vocal. It then sets about a step by step build up in sound with the clear and crisp vocals, the whining lead riffs, percussion and bolder, scathing rhythms. At the same time, the song’s rhythms starts to accelerate before being ushered in by Dave’s trademark furious scream into a pit of raging and flashing rhythms, bass lines and lead parts along with a now pounding percussion. It’s a great tribute to the scale of the Foo Fighters, brought to bear in one track. Not a huge divergence, but the story to the track and whole album is indelible and it’s the Foo Fighters at their best; setting you up slowly and hitting you with a musical sucker punch. ‘The Feast and The Famine’  focuses upon the musical legacy and identity of Washington D.C as opposed to Chicago with last week’s single ‘Something From Nothing’ and opens up another, more familiar version of the band. The previous single offered up the band’s full repertoire of scale, volume and aggression on a gradual and enticing gradient; from the lapping riffs to the shredding guitars. ‘The Feast and The Famine’ is more directly evocative of their 1997 album The Colour and The Shape with it’s ringing riffs which are soon turned into churning and raging cacophony that fixates upon the rest of the track. Grohl delivers his classic scream and rapid lyrical out put. A dramatic and theatrical vocal unison pulls the song away from the intensity, before throwing itself back in there like only the Foo Fighters do. Not as skilful as the previous single, but certainly with the same level as enjoyment if not intricacy.

‘Outside’ opens in a muted and whirring fashion before crashing into life with the well lit riffs and percussion as it trails back off into a more gentle, lapping rhythm along with a slightly distorted vocal from Grohl. The track is then opened up with a sharp and cutting lead riff that gives the song a sense of purpose if not difference. It then goes on to fade off into a more open ended and atmospheric sound with the riffs echoing into the song’s new found spaciousness before another stab at it.’In The Clear’ opens in an intermittent, choppy fashion with carry on in an industrious fashion with some nice melodies filling over the Grohl’s calmer vocals and the soaring backing vocals. ‘Congregation’ is a track that is directed by the lead meandering through the track that has a rattling and smooth progression about it, but the track seems to lack urgency and as a result is a little flat and well worn. Tracks like ‘I am a River’ are more gracious and considered affairs to start off with. The whirring synths and gently humming guitars all echo back into each other as riffs gradually start to emerged from the flashing guitars to be met with a melodic and soft vocal from Dave.song continues on the gradual build up in sound with each verse into the chorus that ups the feel a little, yet controls it throughout for a song that has a nice sing a long quality and a slightly infectious feel even if it is nothing you haven’t heard before. On the whole the album does fall down in a lot of places and the promise of the ‘Something From Nothing’ is gradually diminished throughout. If Sonic Highways is to have a lasting legacy, it will come in the form of the excellent documentary that accompanies this album. Beyond that, this album rarely gives you anything to get excited and invigorated about.

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways = 6.5/10

Single Review – Foo Fighters – The Feast and The Famine

Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters make a quick-fire follow up of their initial single from their upcoming album Sonic Highways with ‘The Feast and The Famine’. This track focuses upon the musical legacy and identity of Washington D.C as opposed to Chicago with last week’s single ‘Something From Nothing’ and opens up another, more familiar version of the band. The previous single offered up the band’s full repertoire of scale, volume and aggression on a gradual and enticing gradient; from the lapping riffs to the shredding guitars. ‘The Feast and The Famine’ is more directly evocative of their 1997 album The Colour and The Shape with it’s ringing riffs which are soon turned into churning and raging cacophony that fixates upon the rest of the track. Grohl delivers his classic scream and rapid lyrical out put. A dramatic and theatrical vocal unison pulls the song away from the intensity, before throwing itself back in there like only the Foo Fighters do. Not as skilful as the previous single, but certainly with the same level as enjoyment if not intricacy. The accompanying documentary airs for the first time in the U.K tonight at 10pm on BBC4.

Single Review – Foo Fighters – Something From Nothing

Foo Fighters
Rock heavyweights, the Foo Fighters have released the first single to arrive from their upcoming eighth studio album Sonic Highways and they as they pay homage to the cornerstones of American music identity, they start off with Chicago in ‘Something From Nothing’. The tracks opens with a lapping and slightly distorted riff and Grohl’s slightly muted and broken up vocal. It then sets about a step by step build up in sound with the clear and crisp vocals, the whining lead riffs, percussion and bolder, scathing rhythms. At the same time, the song’s rhythms starts to accelerate before being ushered in by Dave’s trademark furious scream into a pit of raging and flashing rhythms, bass lines and lead parts along with a now pounding percussion. It’s a great tribute to the scale of the Foo Fighters, brought to bear in one track. Not a huge divergence, but the story to the track and whole album is indelible and it’s the Foo Fighters at their best; setting you up slowly and hitting you with a musical sucker punch. Their HBO series that’s running alongside the album is underway in the states and will start on BBC Four on October 26th

The Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways Album Taster

The Foo Fighters are set to make a return with their eighth studio album on November 10th with Sonic Highways; an album which Dave Grohl has marked out as making 2014 a big year for the band and also talking of how “this album is instantly recognizable as a Foo Fighters record, but there’s something deeper and more musical to it.” This would suggest a change of method or approach and it becomes pretty clear where this lies. Location. For this, the band have recorded eight track from eight different cites:  Austin, Chicago, L.A, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington DC. They have looked to take influence from each of the cities they recorded in and the important cultural figures from there. The album also runs alongside a HBO series of the same name and it see’s them travelling around these cities and immersing themselves in the cultures of each. It even see’s Grohl sit down for a chat with Obama about these musical cornerstones of the United States. We can still expect a snarling, in your face record from them; akin to the classic trademark that is their sound. This time however, we have these new elements entering the music either in lyrical, production or musical fashion. That is what will make this album stand out a bit more than their other as each has always had sizeable attention. Watch this space…