Following many live performances as headlining act across the world, Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters are back with their ninth album ‘Concrete & Gold’. Whilst their last two records ‘Sonic Highways’ and ‘Saint Cecilia EP’ were more conceptual, the 2014 one inspired by legendary US cities the band would visit, this album shows different sides to Foo Fighters that pull you in, all whilst straying true to their sound.
Some might remember that when touring for their last album in 2015, Grohl ended up breaking his leg during a gig, still finished it and built himself a Game of Thrones styled throne to keep on playing future dates. After all this, Grohl expressed how tired the band was, he himself found it difficult to play music and fell in a depression. However, knowing the absolute beast of a man that Grohl is, he came back with energy and fresh new ideas to get the Foo Fighters train rolling again.
With this album, we feel different influences come into hand such as with the opener “T-Shirt”, Queen-like backing vocals with grand chords and theatrical explosiveness. “Run”, released as one of the singles, takes us back to the beginning days of the band, Grohl screaming his ass off, with tones of grunge/hard-rock that we hadn’t seen in a while , making me think that this could have been inspired by Chris Cornell’s death. “Make It Right” follows a funky, Prince-like rock riff which surprisingly has Justin Timberlake as backing vocalist, a kick-ass track that holds itself together really well.
One of my favorite tracks from the album, “The Sky Is A Neighbourhood” holds itself as a dream-rock anthem, staying subtle at times but also blooming with great backing vocals that will surely have everyone singing along. This track embodies what’s so good about this band, it reminds me how they can still produce some great Foo Fighters material, the tune sounds familiar but its new, which means you automatically love it.
“La Dee Da” similarly to “Run” holds some punk-feel to it, a distortion and rhythm section that reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age in its swagger, a definite head-banger when listened to live. Another one of my favorite songs off the record is “Dirty Water”, it reminds me of Foo Fighter’s amazing acoustic tunes from ‘Skin and Bones’ (2006), the angelic backing vocals with a nice chord progression before it fully erupts half-way through to give you the full band experience. “Arrows” holds itself as a classic Foo Fighters’ tune, melodic, catchy and filled with guitars whilst another song I really liked is “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)”, a beautiful acoustic ballad. It also reminds me of the band’s previous work, which is great to see such variety as Grohl sings: “Where is your Shangri-La now? //There aint no superheros now”.
Someone Grohl has been thankful for to over the years for his music, but also recently for his help to recover from his leg injury is Paul McCartney, who makes an appearance as the drummer on “Sunday Rain”. Another great ballad which holds a late-Beatles feel to it, good thing they had one of them playing! “The Line” is also a great forward, drum-pounding, tingly track that Grohl describes as “a search for hope in this day and age where you feel as if you’re fighting for your life with every passing moment, and everything is on the line”. The last track feels influenced by Pink Floyd, joined by Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, this space jam with its backing vocals, its slow rhythm and wavy feel can only remind us of tracks on ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.
Overall, it’s great to see the Foo Fighters back with new inspiration, without ever going out their comfort zone, doing what they love and what they’re so good at. Dave Grohl keeps showing just how capable this mega-star band is of becoming beyond legends – one thing’s for sure, they’re far from being done, even a leg break couldn’t stop them from performing.