FOO FIGHTERS IN TIP-TOP SHAPE WITH ECHOES, SILENCE, PATIENCE & GRACE
Rock and roll’s elder badass Dave Grohl is back with another Foo Fighters album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. And by “another Foo Fighters album” I mean exactly that, but in the best of ways; Foo Fighters have come to define a sound and have set a certain level of excellence that is met with every effort, and this one is no different. Though the Foos’ format of ’90s-style alternative guitar rock has been beat into the ground by many, Echoes proves why Grohl is still the best, a masterful songwriter and arranger; this album is full of good songs with endless melodies, hooks, and hard rocking riffs as well as acoustic ballads.
Echoes has both heavy and quiet moments, successfully integrating acoustic ballads with heavy rockers and rectifying the mistake that was making the Foos’ previous effort In Your Honor a bloated two-disc affair of which the second disc was all-acoustic. First single and album opener “The Pretender” is a slam-dunk, up-beat rocker; “Erase/Replace” and “Long Road to Ruin” are typically solid mid-tempo numbers borrowing the loud/soft/loud format from a Nirvana song or 20 — but make no mistake, everything here is distinctly Foo Fighters.
The acoustic moments on Echoes are actually some of my favorite tracks. “Let It Die” is an album highlight, building from an arpeggiated, acoustic intro with a singalong hook to a momentous, heavy end with Grohl’s trademark scream repeating the hook over and over again on top of fuzzed out guitars. “Come Alive” follows in this format, with nary an electric guitar until two and a half minutes through the song. “Stranger Things Have Happened” is a beautiful acoustic number that remains both beautiful and acoustic all the way through, while “Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners” is a vocal-less exercise in hammer-ons and pull-offs, a foray into Bluegrass for which Grohl should be applauded.
Grohl’s vocal performance is stellar as usual, ranging from quiet to heavy to all out screaming, as on the aforementioned “Let It Die.” “But, Honestly” is another standout track, combining all of these vocal elements with acoustic and heavy sections, and of course big hooks; really it’s a perfect microcosm of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace as a whole. How Grohl continues to churn out such consistently solid material while lending his abilities to various other side projects is testament to the fact that he is one of the most talented and hardest working men in modern rock.
(four out of five horns)
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