Yet twelve years and six albums into their career, it’s the Foos that now define Grohl. Miles away from the tortured punk of his former band, the Foos have cornered the market in radio-friendly rock custom-made to scream along to.
Reunited with Gil Norton (producer of one of their finest hours in The Colour And The Shape), Echoes Silence Patience & Grace sees a return to form for the band following the slight mis-step of In Your Honor (what was that ‘quiet’ disc all about?)
Opening track and lead single The Pretender proves it’s back to business as usual – a soft guitar opens proceedings, with Grohl crooning quietly, until Taylor Hawkins drums signal the inevitable change in tempo. The Pretender then transforms into one of those rockers that the Foos do so well, culminating in a huge chorus custom-built to sing along to.
Let This Die follows the ‘quiet…loud…really bloody loud’ template to perfection as well, while Long Road To Ruin proves that the Foos haven’t lost their way with a memorable chorus – probably their catchiest number since Times Like These.
Yet Echoes… also includes moments that will surprise many. Maybe not to the extent of a Norah Jones duet, as on In Your Honour, but surprise none the less. Perhaps the most jaw-dropping moment is a bluegrass instrumental, Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners, featuring some beautifully played finger-picking guitar from Kaki King.
Elsewhere, the breezy acoustic strum of But Honestly builds masterfully up into a full on sonic bludgeon, while the cheekily titled Cheer Up Boys Your Make Up Is Running (a dig at the emo generation perhaps?) powers along brilliantly, making it perfect driving music.
As with all Foo Fighters albums, there’s a small degree of filler on here. The syrupy Home spoils the moment somewhat by being a piano and strings-backed ballad, while tracks such as Stranger Things Have Happened and Statues don’t quite have the power and drive of the more upbeat songs on here.
Yet overall, this is another fine album from Grohl and company. Their ‘greatest hits’ collection, whenever that’s released, may well prove to be their finest release, but this is just fine to be going on with.