Foo Fighters

Concrete And Gold

Written by: PP on 04/11/2017 17:19:26

Typically, once bands reach the ninth album of their career, they've already established a familiar soundscape and their focus has shifted from innovation to maintaining status quo and releasing quality output that their fans will appreciate without too many surprises. Not so with Foo Fighters, whose megalomaniac frontman Dave Grohl, a self-prescribed rock God, has ascended into a realm of his own and liberally applies a multifaceted paintbrush to the classic Foo Fighters soundscape. As a result, their ninth album "Concrete And Gold" is one that fans will certainly find different, given the artistic liberties taken and the fluid variation between raw rock music and pop melodies that together make it the most experimental, and perhaps also the most ambitious Foo Fighters album to date.

"Run" is a great example. Its lofty and dreamy chorus "Wake up... run for your life with me" is stadium-sized, but on the other hand, the song descends into metallic shrieks and screams on occasion. The riffs are groovy and effects-pedals are in heavy use to present a Foo Fighters song in a different-sounding format than usual, but the song is great. The same goes for "La Dee Da", which utilizes punk undertones while Grohl shrieks and screams in razor-sharp fashion during verses, whilst the chorus floats in a tranquil manner. "The Sky Is A Neighborhood" is almost operatic in its dramatic heights of ambitious melody, but here, too, the chorus is memorable, even if it's not exactly written with the radios in mind.

The album features a host of guest musicians from Justin Timberlake singing backing vocals on "Make It Right" to Paul McCartney drumming on "Sunday Rain" among many others. The band has stated in interviews that it is a direct result of recording at the EastWest Studios, a popular recording location of choice for most LA-based popular musicians, where they would run into and collaborate with artists you wouldn't usually connect to rock music. That is no doubt one of the key factors to how the album comes out sounding as experimental and artistic as it does.

That said, the regular fan hasn't been forgotten. "Dirty Water", for instance, carries eerie echoes of the band's 90s output. "The Line" is more (heh) in line with their output on the past couple of records, especially recalling the fantastic material from "Wasting Light".

Overall, "Concrete And Gold" is a puzzling record. Its experimentalist and expansive soundscape is a first for the band, and when it works, it works really, really well. See the aforementioned tracks "Run" or "La Dee Da" for great examples. Elsewhere, it's easy to get a little lost in the magnificent, ambitious soundscapes that Grohl & co are crafting. Somewhere along the line, I'd hope for catchier songs and more straight-up rock music, but we all know what Dave Grohl is like. Prefer "Wasting Light" to this one by a wide margin.

Download: Run, La Dee Da, Dirty Water
For the fans of: Biffy Clyro, Filter, Incubus, Queens Of The Stone Age
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.09.2017
RCA

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