Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Foo Fighters Are Shaken But Nonetheless Standing on ‘However Right here We Are’


For all Dave Grohl’s grinning joviality, it’s straightforward to overlook that his long-running rock group Foo Fighters was, initially, a solo venture born of grief. The previous Nirvana drummer recorded Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut album in autumn 1994 to fill the sudden, haunting quiet within the months after his bandmate Kurt Cobain’s demise by suicide. His songs had been pummeling however tuneful, and his sense of melody appeared simply as innate as his command of rhythm.

Grohl made a uniquely sleek transition from behind the package to heart stage, and over the subsequent three many years, his straightforward charisma and workhorse drive have helped the Foos survive gone the ’90s alt-rock growth and into a gift the place they’re one of many style’s final true mainstream powerhouses. At this level, Foo Fighters haven’t simply outlasted Nirvana — Grohl has been making Foo Fighters information for longer than Cobain was alive.

Grohl finally expanded the Foos into a correct band, bringing on a core roster that included the explosive, ecstatic drummer Taylor Hawkins. After Hawkins’s premature demise final March at 50, many paid tribute by noting how wonderful a drummer have to be to play in a band with Grohl and never make listeners want Grohl himself had been drumming. However Hawkins was that good, and the palpably deep bond the 2 shared was one of many surest vitality sources that stored the band buzzing all these years.

The group is carrying on, however its first album since Hawkins’s demise, “However Right here We Are,” is haunted by his absence and its influence on his bandmates. “There are occasions that I would like somebody, there are occasions I really feel like nobody,” a lone Grohl sings on “Beneath You,” the melodic, thrashing second observe. (He additionally dealt with drums on the recordings.) On the cathartic, stadium-ready “Rescued,” he howls into the crimson, “Is that this occurring now?”

“However Right here We Are” has a back-to-basics immediacy and depth that was lacking from the previous couple of Foo Fighters albums. Although not terribly shocking for a bunch nearing its thirtieth yr, they’ve generally appeared previously decade to be greedy for gimmicks and overarching ideas to distinguish one file from the subsequent: “Drugs at Midnight,” from 2021, was a forgettable foray into ’80s-inspired dance rock and funk grooves. (As a companion piece, additionally they launched a cheeky assortment of Bee Gees covers.) The songwriting on “Sonic Highways,” from 2014, was a bit stronger, however that album nonetheless felt yoked somewhat too tightly to its idea — recording every music in a unique metropolis and paying tribute to its musical historical past, as explored on the Grohl-directed documentary collection of the identical title.

The undercurrent holding all of “However Right here We Are” collectively shouldn’t be an thought a lot as uncooked emotion. Grohl’s melodies are as hovering and anthemic as they’ve sounded in years; his vocals are freshly impassioned and heartfelt. “It’s essential to launch what you maintain expensive, or so I concern, nevertheless it’s past me,” he sings on “Past Me,” a observe that transcends its preliminary piano-driven mawkishness because it builds towards a stirring, distortion-kissed refrain. The towering title observe layers intricate guitar work atop skittering percussion earlier than a refrain comes alongside and sweeps all the pieces right into a tidal wave of sound. “I gave you my coronary heart,” Grohl screams, as if gnashing his enamel at destiny. “However right here we’re.”

As a lyricist, Grohl shouldn’t be resistant to cliché or predictable rhyme patterns, and that tendency threatens to sink just a few of the album’s quieter, extra down-tempo numbers. Although it options pretty backing vocals from his 17-year-old daughter, Violet, the hazy “Present Me How” succumbs to predictability as Grohl wonders flatly, “The place are you now? Who’ll present me how?”

“However Right here We Are” is at its most vivid on the gut-wrenching nearer “Relaxation.” In a hushed murmur, atop a muted acoustic guitar, Grohl confronts the sight of his pal at a wake, “laying in your favourite garments,” and has to thwart an impulse to attempt to make him snigger. Grohl sounds downcast, diminished. Then, , he stomps on the distortion pedal and the music blooms with bone-shaking noise — essentially the most becoming eulogy for a musician who made as raucous a racket as Hawkins.

Foo Fighters
“However Right here We Are”
(Roswell Data/RCA)

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