Review: Sonic Highways

Now I’m sure I was just as excited as the rest of the planet’s population when news of the Foo Fighter’s eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, started circulating.  I definitely needed more killer riffs, explosive drum tracks and killer stadium-filling choruses in my life.

Since its release on Monday reviews have been coming in thick and fast, some of which seem to be hinting that the Foos are past their best.  Well, I simply had to listen for myself – I refuse to believe anything that even begins to suggest that the Seattle rock band being anything less than flawless.

Sonic Highways has a strong start, beginning with the slow-burning lead single Something From Nothingwhich is lyrically as interesting and complex as the band’s previous offerings.  Say what you want about the Foo Fighters, but you cannot deny their consistency over the years.

If you’ve been watching the band’s series of mini-documentaries following the creation of their latest album, you’ll know that each song was recorded and written in a different American city.  The song which carries the influence of its city of conception most strongly is Congregation, which was penned in Nashville, Tennessee.  The lyrics refer to the highly religious sentiments embedded in the culture of the deep South, plus Zac Brown of country/folk band Zac Brown Band features as a guest guitarist on the track.

Anyway, back to the album.  The piano-heavy introduction to What Did I Do?/God As My Witness helps to break up what could have ended up being an album of never ending guitar riffs, and I can see that track in particular being a live favourite.

My biggest criticism of the album, as much as I don’t want to give one, is that it feels a little short.  Obviously I understand that the Foos travelled all over America to record this album, which would have been extremely time consuming, but maybe they could have made a few more stops along the way.

Vocalist and guitarist Dave Grohl described Sonic Highways and its accompanying series of documentaries in a feature by NME as “a love letter to the history of American music”.  Well, consider this review a love letter right back.  Foo Fighters, once again, have proved that they can do little wrong and cemented themselves as a cornerstone of contemporary American rock ‘n’ roll.

Highlights: Congregation, In The Clear, I Am A River

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