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Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)
Long Road to Ruin
Let It Die
en: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace [info]
Upstaging Madonna at Live Earth, rocking out with half of Queen at Hyde Park, throwing down heartfelt notes to trapped miners, it's all in a day's work for your friendly neighbourhood Dave Grohl. Hell, this guy can even pull his mum up onstage in front of thousands of festival-goers and still look cool.
Yet it's very easy to overlook what the former Nirvana sticksman has achieved musically over the last two years. The Foos are one of the biggest bands in the world right now but that's not to say they haven't had their critics. 2005's, In Your Honor, was decried by many as an exercise in self-indulgence. So in an effort to defy non-believers, the band have sandwiched that album's finer ingredients into 12 eclectic tracks for their sixth album.
It kicks off with a huge stadium rock belter. "The Pretender" is your typical trademark Foos anthem; packed with the same hefty punch that made "Best Of You" and "Monkey Wrench" such classics. The Kurt and Courtney inspired "Let It Die", is an acoustic/electric number which morphs into stabbing guitars and Grohl's raucous yelp as he screeches: 'Why do you have to go and let it die!'. It's a familiar formula, but one the Foos are masters at.
Unfortunately when Grohl et al do delve into pastures new it doesn't quite work. When the charismatic frontman kicks up a country storm on "Summer's End", it falls painfully short of the mark.
The same can be said for some of Echoes' acoustic numbers. The piano-driven '"Statues" sits uncomfortably with the album's finer rock moments while closer "Home" may come on like "Next Year"'s distant cousin, but it plods along aimlessly. It's only when Grohl teams up with jazz guitarist Kaki King for the finger plucking instrumental "The Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners" – based on one of the trapped miners' request for an iPod full of Foo Fighter tunes - that we find ourselves applauding their experimental side.
In *Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace *the Foos may have certainly tried to branch out and defy their critics. But there's no getting away from the fact that rocking out is what Dave Grohl is best at.