- 04 Feb 21
Fightclubbing: Grohl's Gang Get Their Groove On.
All around nice guy and prominent rock exponent Dave Grohl promised that Foo Fighters’ last album, Concrete And Gold, was going to be something akin to “Motörhead’s version of Sgt Pepper,” which sounded like an awesome idea altogether. It wasn’t quite that, but it did deliver what his band are justifiably famed for, classic FM rock shapes that you can whistle along too while you work your air guitar/drums, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
This time out, Grohl wanted to incorporate “music you could shake your ass to” and though Medicine At Midnight is not quite the Achtung Baby rethink that such a statement might suggest, there is a good chance you’ll tap your toe while you’re banging your head.
Opener ‘Making A Fire’ is as big a “Rock” track as you’ll hear this year. Guitars and drums are pummelled, female backing vocalists go “Nah, nah, nah” and then the massive chorus arrives – “it’s time to ignite, I’m making a fire.” It’s widescreen, smiling fare, designed to gets the faithful's arms aloft in the planet’s stadiums - we're all lighting candles so that might be sooner rather than later - and few acts, if any, do it better.
‘Shame, Shame’ is where things start to get a little slinkier, with some pizzicato strings and drums that sound like John Bonham sitting in with an R&B band down his local pub, while ‘Cloudspotter’ could be Hendrix arsing around in the rehearsal room – complete with “kiss the sky” lyrical lift – with a heavier version of War around the time of ‘Outlaw’. The title track has the Bowie of Let’s Dance written all over it from the bass and percussion-led groove to Grohl’s half whispered vocal to the nod at Stevie Ray Vaughan in the guitar break, and then another huge chorus comes in to remind you who it really is.
Long-time fans need not worry that the band have forgotten this either, for the acoustic/strings driven ‘Waiting On A War’ – a timely lyric bemoaning the fact that Grohl’s own kids have to live in fear the same way he did – could have slotted in on earlier Foos albums easily enough, especially when the drums take over. The same could also be said for ‘No Son Of Mine’ – surely a dig at the outgoing contemptible US government cabal – and the closing ‘Love Dies Young’.
Those songs, as well as the required-by-law slower one, ‘Chasing Birds’, could, if you were feeling mean-spirited, be classed as Foos-by-numbers, but again, they’re very good at this sort of thing, and, if that’s not your bag, try ‘Holding Poison’, which cops a welcome feel off Grohl’s mates, Queens Of The Stone Age.
Put it this way, with Medicine At Midnight, Grohl and co. have stuck a few go-faster/get-down stripes on the side of their classic car. It’s done the motor no harm, and it still handles as well as ever.