Foo Fighters’ sixth studio album is a transitional rather than definitive piece of work, but one that sees them growing older with 'patience and grace'.
In Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age rock fable Almost Famous, the Lester Bangs character advises cub journalist William Miller to pitch his Stillwater profile to Rolling Stone’s Ben Fong-Torres as a think piece on a mediocre band straining to achieve greatness. Watching that film again recently I couldn’t help but think of Foo Fighters – not because they’re a mediocre band, but rather their career arc bears out an intrinsically All-American will-to-power work ethic: honest long-haired johns busting their humps to rise above the ordinary.
If the Foos’ one-man-band debut was a modest but promising affair, the 1997 follow-up The Colour & The Shape saw Dave Grohl pull out all the stops, abandon the original sessions, retrack the drums himself and employ one-time Pixies producer Gil Norton to play drill sergeant. It paid off in spades, yielding a set of songs equal to the Herculean performances.
Again, following the patchy One By One album a few years back, the band staged a mini-intervention, hauled themselves up by their bootstraps and conceived of the In Your Honor double set as a Physical Graffiti style magnum opus. The result played like a speeded up Rocky Balboa training sequence, with the quartet audibly psyching themselves towards a two-hour victory lap. Earlier this summer, the band’s Live Earth set seemed a calculated attempt to reprise Queen at Live Aid; watching ‘There Goes My Hero’ light up Wembley, I pitied the fools who had to follow them onstage.
So it goes with Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Norton has been reinstated behind the desk, and the band show no sign of slacking. The opening tune and lead-off single ‘The Pretender’ is prime Grohl beef: a ‘Stairway To Heaven’/‘Dream On’ intro detonated by a crushingly tight rhythm track, wailing lead lines and take-no-prisoners chorus. That the tune is a self-conscious rewrite of ‘All My Life’’s eruptive dynamics and Beavis & Butthead riffs doesn’t render it any less gratifying. Foo Fighters are the thinking man’s bonehead stadium band, Kiss fronted by Bob Mould. At least half the tunes on ESP&C repeat this formula, including ‘Let It Die’, ‘Erase/Replace’ and ‘Long Road To Ruin’, the latter being the kind of furrowed-browed but feelgood melody Grohl can seemingly knock off in his sleep, reinforced by arena-scaled chord changes and the class of slick guitar solo Mike Campbell used to embellish Tom Petty’s finer tunes.
Occasionally, as on the (wonderfully titled) ‘Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make-Up Is Running)’ or ‘But, Honestly’, the formula falls flat, but overall the band have taken enough chances to avoid xeroxing themselves out of focus. ‘Come Alive’ is a 3/4 blues ballad spiced with low grade psychedelia and pastoral Page arpeggios, ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’ a roadworn, dustily acoustic highway hymn that could be Blackfoot or Lynyrd Skynyrd redux, and ‘Summer’s End’ a rollicking desert song that recalls no one so much as QOTSA.
More surprisingly, ‘The Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners’ is a ‘Black Mountain Side’-with-banjo instrumental dedicated to the Tasmanian miners who requested an iPod loaded with FF tunes to get them through five days trapped a kilometre below the surface of the earth.
But it’s the closing suite that surprises most. ‘Statues’ could be Rundgren or McCartney knocking out piano ballads down on the farm with George Harrison on slide, embellished by an effortless and articulate lyric (“We’re just ordinary people/You and me/Time will turn us into statues/Eventually”), while the closing ‘Home’ snapshots Dave in 15 years time as a shaggy, bearded and bulked-up Neil Young type elder statesman: “People I’ve loved, I have no regrets/Some I remember, some I forget/Some of them living, some of them dead/All I want/Is to be home”.
Foo Fighters’ sixth studio album is a transitional rather than definitive piece of work, but one that sees them growing older with, if not echoes and silence, then patience and grace.
Foo Fighters frontman plays reserved version of the classic White album trackRead More
Dave Grohl sends a message to fans - along with some cracking new tunes!Read More
Dave Grohl & Co. were due in the French capital on MondayRead More
The former Nirvana bassist was on hand as amateur videographer for his ex-bandmate's Portland date.Read More
We've an exceptionally frothy collection of tunes in celebration of the Irish Craft Beer & Cider FestivalRead More
It's Dave Grohl & Co 3, the Phelps Family 0Read More
Among them, those Wembley shows and Glastonbury headliner.Read More
Anyone who thought Irish people had fallen out of love with rock were proven wrong by a Slane bill that included Foo Fighters, The Strypes, Ash, Hozier and Kaiser ChiefsRead More
Headlined by the Foo Fighters, with support from Hozier, Kaiser Chiefs, Ash & The Strypes, Slane Castle 2015 was a phenomenal day of rock 'n' roll in Co Meath! Our man Brian Mulligan was on hand to photographically documentRead More
Ahead of this Saturday's extravaganza at Slane Castle, treat your ears to a massive collection of Dave Grohl & co.'s greatest hits, as well as the other acts that are Meath-bound this weekendRead More
Information on alcohol regulations and how to keep yourself safe at the big Meath event.Read More
We're getting seriously excited now about Slane!Read More
Gates open at 2pm with the action commencing shortly after!Read More
The Late Show With... man bowed out last night in considerable styleRead More
Short film follows the band celebrating in OhioRead More
As the FOO FIGHTERS prepare to storm Slane, their mainman talks about Kurt, meeting the President, the mythical powers of punk rock and nearly moving to Belfast as a kid.Read More
The Foo Fighter-in-chief says "I don't think I can watch" Montage Of HeckRead More
Catch Sonic Highways in The Grand Social.Read More
Having spent the morning watching Better Call Saul - for work review purposes, natch - we've now turned our attention to this ace Foo Fighters Austin City Limits show.Read More
Tickets for Foo Fighters' May 30, 2015 visit to Slane Castle will go on sale at 9am on Monday December 1 priced €79.50.Read More
'In The Clear' was recorded in New Orleans during Sonic Highways jauntRead More
Foo Fighter just wants people to listen to the music...Read More
Foos frontman says he doesn't really careRead More
STADIUM-READY POWER ROCK FROM DAVE GROHL AND CO.Read More
Dave Grohl has just announced on 2fm's Rick O'Shea Show that they're playing Slane Castle on May 30, 2015.Read More
'Congregation' is latest taste from Sonic HighwaysRead More
Our first taste of Sonic Highways...Read More
The band were joined by Zac Brown for a rendition of 'War Pigs.'Read More
Don't worry, folks, you won't have to choose sides in a Dave Grohl/Jack White war of words.Read More
Having previously produced and directed 2013’s Sound City, Dave Grohl collaborates with the rest of the Foo Fighters on Sonic Highways, an HBO eight-parter that makes its Stateside debut on October 17.Read More
Conclusion confirmed by producer Butch VigRead More
The making of the album will be the subject of a HBO miniseries and features contributions from The Eagles' Joe Walsh, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye, Buddy Guy, Kiss' Paul Stanley and Heart's Nancy Wilson.Read More
The film focuses on the legendary San Fernando Valley studio.Read More
Grohl releases Sound City official teaser...Read More
When Dave Grohl sat down to decide how the next Foo Fighters album shuld sound, he was drawn inexorably back into the past. With producer Butch Vig at the console, a commitment to analogue and Kris Novoselic guesting on a track that might be a requiem for Kurt Cobain it comes closer than anything the band have ever done before, to chanelling the spirit of Nevermind. Now with a tour on the way, they’re looking forward to rocking Oxegen.Read More
You can now start planning who to see at this year's Punchestown event...Read More
David Grohl kicks up a storm on what may be the definitve Foo's record.Read More
Hear the album played tomorrow night before release day!Read More
Friday May 13 will see the Irish TV premiere of Back And ForthRead More
The Oxegen-bound rockers will release Medium Rare next monthRead More
They're also streaming their ace cover of 'Baker Street'.Read More
Do we have provisional Oxegen line-up?Read More
Listen to 'Rope' now!Read More
Wasting Light is a return to a heavier soundRead More
Early Bird tickets go on sale on WednesdayRead More
Butch Vig is also on board for the next Foos albumRead More
An upcoming Foo Fighters gig at Studio 606 in California, will be broadcast live on Facebook.Read More
Dave Grohl looks back on 20 years of playing music and talks about the birth of his daughter, the trapped Beaconsfield Miners and why Neil Young is his hero.Read More
Possessed of a jovial demeanour, Dave Grohl is a hugely likeable performer and he effortlessly wins the crowd over with his good-humoured banter.Read More
The Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl revealed last night that they will be coming back to Ireland in November.Read More
Fresh from rocking Live Earth, the Foo Fighters have announced details of their highly anticipated new album.Read More
Foo Fighters are the first band to be confirmed for the BudRising Summer festival - and Maximo Park are kicking the whole series off with a free, low-key gig!Read More
Recorded last August over three sold-out nights in Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre, Skin And Bones is a superb snapshot of the band’s first ever tour with its expanded eight piece line-up.Read More
Expect plenty of ding-donging-merrily-on-high when the Foo Fighters play a Christmas party show at the Dublin Point.Read More
Our man Clark collars Taylor Hawkins and Nate Mendel from the Foo Fighters for an exclusive chat.Read More
The new album from Foo Fighters is an indie-rock tour de force, combining blistering anthems and delicate acoustic tracks (there’s even a cameo from dinner-party doyen Norah Jones). According to drummer Taylor Hawkins, it may just be the band’s masterpiece.Read More
Hard to believe it's been ten years since David Grohl first emerged from the ashes of Nirvana, raised his hand, and asked to be selected as the man to drive forward American rock music. Even the most optimistic listener couldn’t have predicted the former drummer’s batch of demos would contain such anthems as ‘This Is A Call’, or that he’d be able to follow up Nirvana with another hugely successful outfit. Yet despite all their accomplishments, the Foo Fighters still have great deal to prove. For all their platinum discs, anthemic singles and sold out tours, they’ve yet to release an album of any real consistence. Grohl could have been speaking about any of the Foo’s previous LPs when he recently said of 2002’s One By One that “Four of the songs were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life.”Read More
John Walshe previews the new Foo Fighters double-album, In Your Honor, which Dave Grohl describes as "by far the most ambitious project I have ever had anything to do with in my entire life."Read More
The fourth single off the album and boy does it sound like it.Read More
"The Foos rock out royally, the reverberations from the kick drum dislodging confetti from the ceiling": Hannah Hamilton - and hotpress.com's three prizewinning guest reviewers - report from the Point's front lineRead More
Tickets, records, reviews and Dave Grohl: announcing the greatest Foo Fighters competition in the world, everRead More
It’s been a long, strange trip for David Grohl, from Nirvana drummer to Foo Fighters frontman, via Queens Of The Stone Age and Tenacious D. Now he’s back with a new Foo album, he’s buried the hatchet with Courtney Love and he’s still as rock’n’roll as everRead More
The man/band of the people image that Dave Grohl and the Foos have perfected over recent years may be a trump card but it has also resulted in an album that, while eschewing showy hysterics, is also a little light on dynamicsRead More
Stack dead actors, stacked to the rafters/Line up the bastards all I want is the truth/hey hey now can you take it?/And we cry when they all die blonde?"Read More
Foo Fighters: ‘Walking After You’ (Elektra)Read More