Along with my copy of the Concrete and Gold CD, a little label sticker stuck to it said, “Testing the limits of speakers everywhere.” Seriously they weren’t kidding!
After being deafened by a persistently screaming Dave Grohl and shredding guitars on Run, Make It Right and The Sky Is A Neighbourhood I found myself doing something I have never done before, I pressed the skip track button on the opening minute of La Dee Da to give my overloaded senses time to adjust.
I’m just going to say it, the Foo Fighters are one of my all time favourite modern rock bands, but my friends there is a disturbance in the force with their 9th album Concrete and Gold that would leave even Yoda scratching his head. I’m not sure I recognise this version of the Foo Fighters that I’ve grown to love over twenty years. But I guess kudos is still due to Dave and the gang for crafting a solid rock album even if there really is being nothing new explored here. Come on guys, let’s be honest here, right? But ok I will admit The Sky Is A Neighbourhood for instance is as good as anything the Foo Fighters have ever recorded before. It’s a guitar chugging rock anthem inspired by a Dave Grohl hobby.
Grohl recently explained: “One night I was lying out looking up at stars. Just imagining all of these stars as places that have life on them as well, and I decided that the sky is a neighborhood, that we need to keep our s— together in order to survive in this universe full of life. But I had no music yet. I just had the title. So every day I would walk around, kind of humming this thing in my head.”
Yet despite my reservation about it heavy rock sound, the Foo Fighters have nonetheless challenged me to reconsider my praise for them. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Run, for example, a tribute to what is great about punk rock, but the back-end of the album (thank god) is definitely a nice change, to all those loud shimmering guitars, especially Dirty Water and Happy Ever After (Zero Hour) a lovely little music-hall acoustic ditty. While Sunday Rain stands out as a favourite track, where rock ‘n’ roll royalty Paul McCartney elegantly does his things on drums. Talking about drums, Taylor Hawkins is incredible throughout the album with his equally deft touch and heavy hitting tempo. In short, Foo fighters more pleasing moments are their quieter numbers and I’m sure I will probably warm to this album in its entirety in good time, but I might wait until the ringing in my ears stops first.