In the eyes of the world, what could American rock supergroup Foo Fighters do wrong? Upon the release of their eighth studio album Sonic Highways this November, an Australian/New Zealand tour was announced for February 2015, much to the delight of their legion of fans of the southern hemisphere; and a Happy 20th Birthday goes out to the group too, the milestone was commemorated earlier this year with a documentary series Sonic Highways, created by lead singer Dave Grohl. Their seventh studio album Wasting Light won five out of six Grammies it was nominated for, and most would argue that those nominations were suitably awarded; the album was recorded entirely with the use of analog recording equipment in Grohl’s garage, and it sounded phenomenal. Sonic Highways, eighth album eight songs, has a lot to live up to but there’s no doubt that we’d be in for a decent listen; a fun fact you probably already knew, each song was recorded in eight different cities across America, which makes the production all the more interesting.
Lead single Something From Nothing has the Foo’s written all over it, around it and through it, the guitars are incredibly addictive and beginning the track on a more low key note worked; naturally, the song exploded in true FF fashion and the ‘in your face’ sound that we know and love emerged. The Feast and The Famine wastes no time in charging up, the verses are catchy and you find yourself belting out the chorus with Grohl as he brings it home, a true rock effort; there’s no holding back with Congregation either, it gives you the impression that it would be a more laid back Foo Fighters track in the intro and verses, but later we are treated once again to Grohl’s incredible roar and some masterful instrumental work. The keys flourish throughout the first verse of What Did I Do?/God As My Witness, which is refreshing coming from the Foo’s and adds some diversity to their solid hard rock line-up, it’s not long though before they are shredding some guitar once again; the track is structured into two parts, the keys return after a brief silence nearly three minutes in and God As My Witness is a power ballad of your wildest dreams with some solid guitar solo work before the fade out.
Outside is a little different from what we’ve already been graced with, the guitar heavy intro is upbeat but it gives way to a quieter verse driven by the beat, the guitars carry the song once again throughout the chorus; In The Clear focuses on the clarity of Grohl’s cleaner vocal in its verses, it’s not as full on as its predecessors, but it’s still worth a listen as the Foo Fighters can easily handle an impressive array of dynamics. The acoustic guitar sets a warm and atmospheric tone to the introduction and the first verse of Subterranean, we have heard the group tackle some low key stuff before on their second disc of In Your Honor, and this song is fantastically written and delivered; last but not least is the seven minute installment, I Am A River begins with a vibe of ambience and optimism, about a minute in the guitars join the gang and make the sound more full, as usual Grohl’s voice completes the atmosphere. Sonic Highways ends on a more down tempo note, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of yet another decent Foo Fighters installment.
Sonic Highways proves the Foo Fighters are neither down nor out, and their highly successful career over the last two decades can vouch for that statement. Like its predecessor Wasting Light, the album makes for a fantastic heavy rock listen, the new album consists of a sound best described as timeless and ageless as we can hear some of the old classic Foo Fighters resonate throughout the record. At a short and sweet eight tracks it doesn’t miss the mark, perhaps the group thought that this album ought to be more killer than filler; you can happily add Sonic Highways to your existing Foo Fighters record collection without regret.