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Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

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Sony Music, Rs. 499 (CD)

Everyone wants to know what makes Dave Grohl so likable, much like a hero who hates and loves the right things, in addition to being elevated to rockstar status with every passing Foo Fighters record. Or maybe it was his work on the documentary on the closing of one of music’s best studios, Sound City that gained him massive mainstream and indie cred. Either way, at this stage, given the Foo Fighters’ excellent track record to deliver one amazing rock album after another, Grohl and co look like they can do no wrong.

Grohl has followed up his opus Sound City documentary with something even closer to his heart, a rockumentary TV series about the history of American music, intertwined with the concept of paying tribute to that history in the form of an album. Fixated with the number, Sonic Highways is their eighth album, comprising eight tracks. The band channels through some classic alternative rock, swerving in their energy as Grohl makes emotional statements of love, friendship and the cities he’s visited. He talks about being a self-made man set to some heavy Sabbath-worship riffage on ‘Something From Nothing’, gives a punk edge to ‘The Feast and the Famine’. But it’s when you get to ‘Congregation’ that you realise the Foos are still making rock interesting – and they don’t need synthesizers or electronica elements to convince their fans. After stopping by towns like Chicago and Nashville, the band heads south to Austin, Texas and introduces bluesy licks on the very versatile ‘What Do I Do?/God As My Witness’, courtesy producer and ace bluesman Gary Clark Jr. By the time you hear they’re collaborating with the Eagles’s Joe Walsh, you can tell Sonic Highways is an album that celebrates American rock beyond just the Nineties that the Foo Fighters loved.

As is the case with anything that follows a chronological order this closely, there’s a New Orleans jazz hall band breathing in a horn section majestically ‘In the Clear’ and Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard backing Grohl on their homage to Seattle on ‘Subterranean’ and ending poignantly with ‘I Am a River’. While Sonic Highways is short even by the Foos standards, this album is a must for any fan of rock, which is probably the band’s best bet for a target audience.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:33:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/beatstreet-foo-fighters-sonic-highways/article6676131.ece

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