Foo Fighters

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Written by: PP on 07/11/2007 04:31:55

Now here's a band that needs no introduction: Foo Fighters. If it does, you should probably not be reading this site as most reviews we publish dig quiiiite a bit deeper into the music scenes. Because lets face it, together with bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse, Foo Fighters are on a level very few rock bands ever reach - everyone knows them, everyone has heard at least one song, and everyone knows how much better they sounded 'back in the day', not just the music elitists. And they've been up there for the better part of this decade now. So without having to resort into describing their sound other than labeling them as alternative / stadium rock, I'll just jump straight into the review.

My biggest problem with "In Your Honor" was its complete lack of character. Dave Grohl embraced his classic rock star image on record and screamed / yelled his way through riffs massive enough to fill stadiums the same way in every song. Then he softened up and packed together a bunch of acoustic songs on the second disc of the album, that was in every aspect far superior to the electric disc, which was pretty much just a continuation of "One By One", only bigger, heavier and, sadly, far less interesting. That same problem pops up occasionally here on "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace". Take a song like "Come Alive", for instance. It just seems to drag on forever, and Grohl's singing/screaming dynamic takes the song nowhere.

Luckily though, it isn't as big of a problem on "Echoes.." as it was on "In Your Honor", where almost every track was missing one of the most crucial elements that made Foo Fighters as big as they are today: the fun factor. You just can't come up to me with a straight face and say songs like "Learn To Fly" or "Times Like These" aren't fun to listen to, even though they are massive.

The band seems to have realized this too: the album opener "The Pretender" is probably the best song the band has written since "Times Like These". Although Grohl still screams like a million dollar rock star, the songs is a heavy rocker with a great chorus and, best of all, it's fun to listen to. Similarly, "Long Road To Ruin" could be something out of "One By One" or even "There Is Nothing Left To Lose" with its cleaner distortion - needless to say I'm loving it.

"Erase/Replace" sees the band at probably their most experimental sound (excluding "In Your Honor"'s acoustic disc), bringing in an interesting change after the massive build up of "Let It Die", another much better off Foo Fighters song.

What happens after then is probably my favorite part of the album. "Come Alive" successfully blends their massive stadium rock sound to an acoustic ballad so that the song is neither too heavy nor too soft or experimentalist. "Stranger Things Have Happened" is an awesome song for a ballad, and although it is the second ballad in a row, the album's flow still remains largely in tact, helped by the strong choruses... and the rest of the album kind of alternates between acoustic, electric, and experimentalist from here on.

Here's where you'd expect the summary to be. But instead, I'll just ponder why, even after about ten to fifteen listens, I'm still sitting here having to click on each song separately to try to remember which one is which, especially on the second half of the album? It's as if the album ended for me with "Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make-Up Is Running)", which is kind of worrying considering it's only track 7 out of a total of 12. The first half is great - in fact, it is the best material Foo Fighters has written since 2002 - but something about the second half just reminds me far too much of "In Your Honor"'s flaws. Too much rock star attitude, too little "The Pretender"-like alternative rock godhood. That's probably the best way to describe the vibe of the second half of the album.

However, as the band now possesses a sizable back catalogue, the second half of the album probably won't matter in a live environment, where the "return to the form" songs from this album will mix nicely with the "older classics". I, for one, have suddenly become excited about the prospect of catching Foo Fighters at Roskilde Festival again this year. In the end, what this album tells me.. no, wait, what this album screams at me is "WHAT IF I SAY I WILL NEVER SURRENDER!".

Download: The Pretender, Long Road To Ruin, Stranger Things Have Happened
For the fans of: Weezer, Hell Is For Heroes, Queens Of The Stone Age, Jimmy Eat World
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.09.2007
RCA Records

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