not a member? click here to sign up
David Grohl kicks up a storm on what may be the definitve Foo's record.
Peter Murphy, 07 Apr 2011
If we told you that the new Foo Fighters record was recorded in Dave Grohl’s garage on analog gear with Butch Vig (Nirvana, Green Day, Garbage) producing and Alan Moulder (MBV, NIN, The Killers) doing the mix job, resulting in a heavy-heavy monster sound laden with hooks and overladen with a sort of radioactive mastering sheen, would you still respect us in the morning?
The real question is, are the songs any cop? We know FF have the chops, we know they can thrash as good as Pantera (well, almost), we also know they can strip down a 70s-ish rock arrangement and filter it through a hardcore blender with the relish of crack mechanics after a feed of subs and Coke. But the finest Foos moments always happened when they harnessed all that volume and brawn to Dave G’s skills as a songwriter. And he is a very fine songwriter. Many’s the strummer would be proud to have authored ‘The Best of You’ or ‘Everlong’ or ‘Times Like These’ or ‘There Goes (My Hero)’.
But you can discount the Tom Petty knock-off ‘Wheels’ that BV produced for the Greatest Hits. Wasting Light is a heavier, tighter, more Teutonic incarnation: polished but powerful, calibrated to within an inch of its life and pushed to the limits of its capabilities. And yes, since we asked, there are tunes. Eleven of ‘em.
The opener ‘Bridge Burning’ (prime Grohl screamo married to a QOTSA melody) and the single ‘Rope’ are about 50% representative. On first listen they sound no more or less than groovy riffs garnished with some bitchin’ drum fills – god help us, ‘workouts’ – but subsequent plays reveal honest-to-god tunes. Plus, we should mention that the guitar sounds are ferocious (there’s more of them for a start – Pat Smear’s back in the band). The mutant little rocker ‘White Limo’ sounds like Nick Oliveri bellowing The Pixies ‘Planet Of Sound’.
But there’s depth too. ‘Dear Rosemary’, with Bob Mould on guitar, is a mid-tempo classic rock whatever-happened-to-you reverie that sounds like Boston played by Black Flag, and there’s a recriminatory minor key revenge ballad called ‘I Should Have Known’, with a string section and cameo from The Tubes’ Fee Waybill (seriously), dripping bitter lines like, “I should have known/I was inside of you/I should have known/That side of you”.