Friday, September 28, 2007

Echoes Silence Patience And Grace - Foo Fighters

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It must be nice being Dave Grohl. He's pretty much the lauded gentry of modern rock, feted everywhere he goes as a great musician and a great bloke. Indeed he's in such good grace that most people have ignored the fact that the Foo's last studio album, 2005's In Your Honor, was, frankly, rubbish. The rock disc was turgid, the acoustic disc was limp and whilst Grohl called it a "fitting" tribute to the Foo's 10th anniversary, I thought it was pretty much an admission that the Foo's had done all they could.

Still, rapturously received live dates and the reappearance of Gil "The Color & The Shape" Norton at the production helm meant that there were reasons for me to look forward to the album. And whilst it never comes close to matching the majesty of The Color... (which is their finest album by far) it happily never threatens to sink to the depths that Honor did.

Lead single The Pretender is exactly what you'd expect from the Foo's - hard hitting, punchy rock - and as such effectively highlights where this whole experience is heading. In many ways it reminds me of One By One, in that it's definitely a top-heavy disk.

Let It Die shows that the idea of an "acoustic" Foo Fighters need not always be a desperate thing, the use of strings on Erase/Rewind adds a wonderful edge to the Foo's traditional sound and Long Road To Ruin highlights Grohl and his band at their very best.

Once you get over halfway through though, it begins to disappoint and the realisation hits me that despite their best efforts, the Foo Fighters seem unlikely to ever better The Color And The Shape. Sure, occasionally they can reach the same kind of heights for a couple of songs, but never for a whole album.

So this is solid, rather than spectacular, but that in itself is a reason for elation after the disaster that was In Your Honor. And no doubt, there's enough here to ensure that it sells by the bucket load.

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