Foo Fighters

Medicine At Midnight

Written by: PP on 27/02/2021 01:01:51

Magazines rushing out with a Foo Fighters review to get it out there on release date are missing out on a crucial aspect: their tenth full-length "Medicine At Midnight" is a surprisingly good album that might just be their best since 2011's "Wasting Light" and one that has the band sounding rejuvenated and revitalized given enough time to grow. And the reason why is simple: even though it's the most experimental Foo Fighters record in a long while, it is also to a large extent their most familiar one in years, especially if you've been a fan of the band since their late 90s/early 2000s heydey.

The raw, "I'm Dave Grohl and I'm a rock star" roar has been toned down significantly to make room for handclaps and other mainstream pop/rock gimmicks, sandwiched between quirky, experimental guitars that aren't a far cry from Josh Homme's licks on Queens Of The Stone Age's "Era Vulgaris" or "Like Clockwork". It's fair to say Foo Fighters has never sounded like this before: it's a weird and a rather unconventional sound for the band, which you'll meet on tracks like "Shame Shame" and "Cloudspotter" early on the record, thus starting off the new album on the wrong foot.

In contrast, "Waiting On A War" will take you back to 1999's"There Is Nothing Left To Lose" by being their most "Learn To Fly"-esque material on this side of the millennium. It's a light, uplifting alternative rock song that nostalgically reminds us not all songs need to be headbangable and drenched in guitar distortion. The buildup towards the end is epic and leads into a magical, Roskilde Festival-worthy sing-along moment. The same goes for "Holding Poison", another gem on the album that takes you back to the same era in its chorus with an eerily familiar vocal expression to what you'd find if you were to dust off your "One By One" album.

Similarly, "No Son Of Mine" is the most naturally flowing Foo Fighters material in almost two decades. It's a super simple formula: an infectiously catchy alternative rock chorus that does nothing fancy, instead opting to play to their strengths where Dave Grohl's raw vocals are in perfect interplay against the distorted riffs. The chorus passages should take you all the way back to 1997's "The Colour And The Shape".

"Love Dies Young" is in the same vein, going towards the late 90s/early 2000s style rather than the rawrrr rock of the last few albums. It's less rock star show off, more light, upbeat alternative rock, which is the space and soundscape where Foo Fighters are at their very best. Yes, it's true that "Chasing Birds" and the title-track are equally unconventional as the others mentioned in this review, leaving behind an album that feels unbalanced. Some of the greatest songs the band has written in the last 20 years are on here ("Holding Poison", "No Son Of Mine", "Waiting On A War"), but they are dragged down by the experimental tracks that extend too far outside my comfort zone. As such, we'll probably remember this album far longer down the line than "Sonic Highways" or "Concrete And Gold", for instance. It's not a masterpiece, but it's a solid Foo Fighters album that feels like a nice nod towards us older fans that have been listening along since the beginning.

Download: No Son Of Mine, Waiting On A War, Making A Fire
For the fans of: Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Incubus, Smashing Pumpkins
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.02.2021

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