Like it or not, the Foo Fighters are unquestionably one of the biggest rock bands of the past 20 years. Although their post-millennium output has been patchy; 2011’s ‘Wasting Light’ was a beacon of hope in a lacklustre batch of albums. Yet Dave Grohl and company have always somehow stayed relevant. On ‘Concrete and Gold’, they look back to move forwards.
Over the course of nearly an hour, the sextet provide nods to a host of influential names from yesteryear, as they aim to provide a set of raw, large radio rock songs. However, like their weaker records, it doesn’t offer enough standout moments. Nevertheless, ’T-Shirt’ sets the tone nicely. An intimate Grohl giving way to grandiose, harmonised rock before easing into the rollercoaster that is ‘Run’. One of the band’s heaviest and best singles in recent times, it gives the album a justified kick start.
As you delve deeper into the record, the aforementioned mix of influences soon becomes apparent. ‘Make It Right’ carries itself with an AC/DC-like swagger. ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood’ sees a later day Beatles influence creep in with compelling results; slightly pompous and certainly delivered with grandeur. Their influence also pops up on ‘Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)’, while the fuzz-laden ‘La Dee Da’ echoes Led Zeppelin. Later on, ‘Sunday Rain’ sees drummer Taylor Hawkins step up to the mic to bring a slice of 70s Californian rock. While the titular track is a challenging finale. Its downtrodden tempo blending into Pink Floyd-esque atmospherics is an intriguing departure for Foo Fighters.
‘Concrete and Gold’ ultimately sees a band transitioning into modern-day elder statesmen of rock. While the process isn’t complete; ‘Run’ and ‘The Line’ have a distinctive and familiar urgency. Nevertheless, besides a handful of highlights, ‘Concrete and Gold’ requires patience to be fully understood. Foo Fighters are at a crossroads; they can either continue delivering stadium rock anthems or continue to shake up their sound as they hint at here.
‘Concrete and Gold’ by Foo Fighters is out now on RCA/Roswell.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)