The aim to stay fresh and exciting when you have been together for twenty-five years is not one alternative rock legends Foo Fighters need to worry about. The tenth studio album from Dave Grohl and his cohorts marks a glorious depiction of the band’s successful career in music. While each track inserts its own stroke of rock and roll lightning, they also work as a combined unit. It nods to familiar influences like Queen, Metallica and Queens of the Stone Age, but while some tracks highlight a signature sound, it is apparent that the band have been on the lookout to establish wider territory, and the distinct character of each track stays in mind after a single listen.
Opener ‘Making A Fire’ invigorates with its balanced genre blend. The use of gospel-style technique ignites a vibrant and welcoming moment, and Grohl’s daughter Violet delivers some proficient vocal technique in the shape of some high notes. ‘Shame Shame’ is a compelling meld, combining a dramatic rhythmic framework and dark atmospherics.
Different sentiments dominate the scene on ‘Cloudspotter’. A dynamic and complex track, it explores the manifestation of pessimism. “Head ringing in the dead of night/Just a pair of lovesick parasites”, tonally rebelling against traditional song formats tackling love, it remains a love song, just not in the conventional sense.
Elsewhere, ‘Waiting On A War’ is dedicated to the frontman’s daughter Harper. Self-revelatory in tone and structure, it reflects on his childhood and upbringing. Earlier this year, the frontman issued a tweet about the key inspiration behind it.
Growing up in the outskirts of Washington D.C., he had been afraid of wars breaking out. Having spent a large part of his youth worrying about this, he was amazed when his daughter asked him if he thought a war was imminent. The realisation that they both shared a similar fear sparked the instant urge to write.
Meanwhile, a divergent vibe is projected on the album title track. With a sound that potentially stretches to groups like Talking Heads and Roxy Music in nature, Bowie-like vocals are incorporated, resulting in an elaborate, rather delicate sound delivery.
By contrast, ‘No Son Of Mine’ constitutes a blast of sonics. A tribute to Lemmy, it is a sprawling delivery that portrays the huge admiration Grohl has for the influential Motörhead frontman.
Elevated and immersive, the John Lennon-like ‘Chasing Birds’ constitutes a tranquil, dreamy moment of self-reflection before the infectious, happy go lucky moment of ‘Love Dies Young’. As far as poppy rock songs go this is as upbeat as they come. Bursting with energy, it signifies the perfect ending to a passionate and explosive journey.
Celebratory to the bone, the tenth Foo Fighters recording adventure is a bit like finding yourself on the best rollercoaster ride in town on a hot summer day, joyously terrifying in places, it ends well. Quite frankly, at this point in time, there is a strong need to connect with moments of such enjoyable intensity.
Words: Susan Hansen
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