I think it’s a fair and safe assumption that, to the average Australian, the Foo Fighters (Or Fooies, as they are affectionately known down under) are an institution. I can still remember years ago when I would mention Foo Fighters in conversation, I’d more often than not get a funny look and have to explain that it’s a band fronted by the drummer from Nirvana, to which I’d generally get a response along the lines of “The drummer sings?”
These days, that is definitely not the case. Dave Grohl and his merry band of misfits are arguably one of the most cherished and loved rock bands out here in Aussie land, and with their 9th full length album, “Concrete and Gold”, the Fooies look set to continue their dominance for the foreseeable future.
The Album opens with a short minute and a half track going by the name of “T Shirt” that manages to cram in an equal amount of quiet introspection and Sergeant Pepper style bombast, before transitioning to the single “Run“, which follows the same formula of quiet interludes and barn storming rock with guttural screaming from Grohl, just more extreme.
Over the albums near 50 minutes, the Fooies treat us to a mix of all of their strengths and very little of their weaknesses, all slathered in a production that feels very Beatelesque. It’s really no surprise then that Paul McCartney features on the most Beatles like track “Sunday Rain“. Instead of singing though, he lends his drumming talents to the track, and it’s a great 6 minute slow groove of a song which feels like it could have been recorded back in the 70’s.
Another interesting guest that shows up early on the album is Justin Timberlake. No, the Foo Fighters haven’t recorded a cringe worthy pop track in an attempt to reach a new audience, in fact you wouldn’t even have noticed Timberlake singing backing vocals on “Make It Right” unless I brought it to your attention. It’s one of the stand out tracks of the album, to be honest, featuring a lovely stuttering mid tempo drum rhythm from the always awesome Taylor Hawkins, some tasty guitar hooks, and some great vocal harmonies from Grohl and Timberlake, once again feeling awash in Beatles love.
Apart from these slight little detours, its business as usual for the rest of the album, but that isn’t a bad thing; The Foo Fighters possess a formula that works and tracks such as the urgent light rock “The Line“, the epic rock of “Arrows” and the serious slow bass driven groove of “La Dee Da” showcase their knack for writing catchy pop tinged rock that resonates with their incredibly large fan base.
All in all, “Concrete and Gold” is an album that manages to please both fans new an old. It’s unapologetically Foo Fighters and while you mightn’t hear anything mindblowingly different here, what IS here is well made and absolutely rock solid.