Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
More eagerly anticipated than ‘The Fappening Part 2’, the Foo Fighters celebrate their 20th anniversary by releasing their eighth studio album, Sonic Highways.
Not only that, but the band have also made an eight-part television series with network giants HBO to accompany the record’s release. The show documents the band travelling across various musical landmarks in the states – New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, Washington D.C., Austin, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles – to immerse themselves in the various music cultures and find song-writing inspiration for each track. Sounds like a style over substance disaster waiting to happen, right?
Well, put it this way: despite this album having the potential to be the most diverse and creative record they’ve ever done, it still sounds – notwithstanding some tweaks to the old template – very similar to the last Foo’s album. And a bit like the one before that. Which, to be fair, is not a criticism at all… well, maybe it’s a small one.
They still rock the crashing, chunky guitar chords better than anyone else. But, despite attempts to spice things up with the inclusion of special guests on each track, it’s hard for said guests to be heard over the usual shouty vocals and thunderous guitar formula. For example, the addition of the New Orleans Preservation Hall Band in track ‘In the Clear’ could have been something incredible – but, unfortunately, they’re not given a chance to shine amidst Grohl’s domination.
That’s not to say that Dave Grohl didn’t have admirable and respectable intentions with this album. I genuinely don’t question his sincerity in attempting to recreate the sounds of each place in the tracks. He is, after all, one of the nicest blokes in the music industry. However, I don’t think that penning a few associated lyrics and inviting short cameos from local music artists is enough to encapsulate the musical culture of an entire city.
Even though the album might fall flat conceptually, it still rocks – literally. If truth be told, things don’t get much better than first track ‘Something from Nothing’; but things don’t get much worse either. It’s still well worth a purchase and furthers my opinion that Dave Grohl is a leg-end.
Joe Food 7/10