Foo Fighters ‘Concrete and Gold’ – Assessment by Ian Billen

Ian Billen Reviews Foo Fighters

 

Foo Fighters Latest is not Their ‘Standard’-

 

Collaborations and plenty of session musicians which include Justin Timberlake (believe it or not), Boyz II Men S. Stockholm and even Paul McCartney who guests on drums during one track help to make Concrete and Gold an adventurous Foo Fighters release that’s recipeid’ with thrash metal, their familiar Funk Rock and now some Beatle-esk songwriting and psychedelia.

Credit is given to The Foo Fighters for trying <not> to sound 100% typical of themselves and in consciously <not> making another usual Foo Fighter’s album. Post Grunge acts (such as The Foo Fighters) often have label executives, producers, A&R personnel and at times even the band themselves trying to stimulate more downloads by persuading tamed or more pop oriented material in an acts work. Thankfully this situation is not part of this records design. The material never comes to be lame nor light in any regard. Much respect should be given to the band and their associates considering today’s pop and hip-hop arm benders. Lastly (and every bit as important) Dave Grohl tossed out his initial idea of actually recording the album’s brand new material at The Hollywood Bowl in front of 20,000 people (uhhhhh…? = No). Live albums are supposed to be recorded live (in basis), and studio releases are supposed to be ..well .. ‘studio releases’. Trying to infuse the two concepts in every song would of only been puzzling and less desirable. 

The album is a semi-solid collection, fresh and interesting. However things here are not without a few cited shortcomings. The first is that at times it crosses the line for being something ‘tasteful’ while attempting something unlike past recordings during a couple songs (mostly concerning Dave Grohl’s screeching vocals). In addition, while there are several strong tracks there is not one real winner convincing single on board. If it were not for these two noticeable components, we would have an <all around> truly strong album on our hands.

Not to mislead, Concrete and Gold is not to be considered a failure of any sort. The record takes chances without sounding silly in approaching ninety percent of it. Sonic-ally it’s heavy, harmonic, and although it’s accented with an acoustic guitar at times, the record is a more-over a hard rock recording. Producer Greg Kurstin allows for stringed based psychedelia during certain tracks that seem to maintain interest as well as offer something more adventurous than a standard bass, guitar, drums outing. Dave Grohl’s singing is a bit over the top every here and again as was mentioned previously but from a vocal ability vantage he’s in fine working order. Instrumentation throughout The Foo Fighter’s ninth effort is more than simply adequate and this one’s production / recording showcases a fairly large, bountiful sound.

While this product is nothing ‘killer’ Concrete and Gold is a better album than anticipated in more ways than one. The songwriting can be divergent and the production is to some extent audacious. Noted is that the record won’t necessarily amaze anyone (let’s hope) but at the same time it definitely carried the Foo Fighters afloat in 2017 and it shall for a few years beyond. Overall this particular work achieves purpose by being something not entirely familiar from the band.

Though I’ve been critical of Dave Grohl for his purposeful Hollywood type exposures I must call the current Foo Fighters album as it is, something that is worth investigating largely due to its exploration …even worth purchase.

84% –

Ian Billen

Standout Tracks : ‘T-Shirt’, ‘Sunday Rain’, ‘Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)’

Released on Friday September 15, 2017 via RCA Records.

– Recorded at East West Studios, Hollywood California: Dec 2016 – May 2017
– Produced by Greg Kurstin
– Engineers: Darrel Thorp, Julian Burg, Brenden Dekora
– Mixing Engineer is Darrel Thorp
– Mastering Engineers: David Ives, Darrel Thorp
– Album Artwork / Design: Andy Carne
– Album Photography: Brantley Gutierrez