Foo Fighters' Concrete and Gold: What You Need To Know
Foo Fighters' last album Sonic Highways was something a little different from their usual modus operandi, with its eight tracks recorded in several of America's most famous recording studios in cities across the country, including New York, Nashville and Seattle. The album was also accompanied by a companion TV series broadcast on HBO, which offered a glimpse behind the scenes at the recording process for the album, as well as a lesson on each studio's rich musical history.
For their latest record however the Foo Fighters have taken a more straightforward approach, recording 11 new songs at Hollywood's EastWest studios for their ninth studio album, which they've described as “Motorhead's version of Sgt. Pepper.” It's called Concrete and Gold, it arrives in stores today and here's everything you need to know about it...
A little background...
It has been fairly well publicised that frontman Dave Grohl fell off a stage while touring the band's Sonic Highways album, breaking his foot in the process. Being the absolute warrior that he is, rather than cancel the remaining shows to recuperate Grohl instead had a special 'throne' constructed which allowed him to play on without putting weight on the injury. Unfortunately the injury turned out to be more serious than originally thought and after struggling with it for while, Grohl decided that it might be a good opportunity for the band to take a break, allowing him to fully recover. Initially, Grohl set aside a full year for this, but after six months he'd had enough and locked himself away in a rented house in California for five days with a guitar, a case of wine and a microphone, where he began sketching out the songs that would end up on their next album.
Who's producing it?
Manning the controls this time around is Greg Kurstin, the man behind towering pop hits such as Adele's 'Hello' and whose production credits include songs by Taylor Swift, Sia, Kylie Minogue and The Flaming Lips, among many, many others.
Any special guests?
Not as many as their last record, but there are few familiar faces, one of the most unlikely being Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman, his inclusion the result of a chance meeting between him and Dave Grohl in a car park, of all places. Paul McCartney also contributes drums to 'Sunday Rain', while there are also appearances from The Kills' Alison Mosshart, saxophonist Dave Koz and Inara George, vocalist with Greg Kurstin's band The Bird and The Bee.
What does it sound like?
The band have said they set out to make “the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever” and as you might expect from an album with Greg Kurstin behind the recording desk, there are plenty of big, melodic hooks to go with the grinding riffs and Taylor Hawkins' pounding drum rhythms. On tracks like 'The Sky is a Neighbourhood' the aforementioned Beatles album is a clear reference point, particularly in the opening bars, while lead-off single 'Run' feeds a fizzing, Motorhead-like guitar riff through Kurstin's pop prism to create one of the album's best moments. There are a few surprises too, with the closing title track making use of Shawn Stockman's powerful vocals and layering them to create a towering choir that conjures up images of the Beach Boys' lush harmonies.
Does it deliver?
By now fans will know what to expect from Foo Fighters' and Concrete and Gold won't disappoint. Here they combine a winning formula with just enough new ideas and experimentation to keep things interesting throughout. You can find the video for 'Run' below, but be advised there are bit that might be NSFW – and besides, some things cannot be unseen. Consider this fair warning...