A lot of bands struggle to sound fresh and original by even their second album – the Foo Fighters have managed it here on their seventh.
From the face-bending guitar and drum crescendo which begins opener Bridge Burning, Dave Grohl and co. take you on an eleven track musical journey, through everything from heavy rock and roll sounds to more melodic almost vocal led songs, and it’s just superb.
Bridge Burning itself is great in as much as it really sets the tone for the album - this is no holds barred, and this is a record where the band are just going to play in the way they want to play - recording the entire album on tape in Grohl's garage. Building on everything the band have learnt over the past six albums they have found the perfect mix to bring their sound to the masses.
Of particular note are These Days, and Dear Rosemary. The former feels very different from the rest of the album, and more reminiscent of something like Long Road to Ruin from the last album, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace , with a soulful tuneful opening before rest of the band really crash in towards the chorus.
Dear Rosemary meanwhile feels like a love letter to a forgotten age. “Rosemary, Please pardon me” begs the vocal, and it’s clear that as the song swing’s into its chorus, this is surely going to be a huge sing a long number as the band heads out to tour the album - the call and response from the legendary vocallist Bob Mould surely to be replaced by 1000's of screaming stadium fans.
The real stand out though is penultimate tune I Should Have Known. A song about every time Grohl has ever looked back in regret, it is almost impossible not to draw comparisons to his ex-Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain - although Dave himself insists he only realised the connection after the song was done, and it was by no means his actual inspiration for the song. “No I cannot forgive you yet….but I should have known.” Grohl pines. It’s almost heart breaking listening. and it’s one of the best songs the band has produced in years.
Interestingly the only song I’ve really not gotten into entirely is Rope, the song chosen by the band as the first single. It feels much more rough and ready than the rest of the album, and while I’m sure it’s a grower, I can’t help but feel that something like Bridge Burning would have been the more obvious single.
That being said it’s only a very minor issue, on what is otherwise a real triumph of an album, and, with the help of Nevermind producer Butch Vig, what we have is very probably the Foos best effort since 1997’s The Colour and the Shape.