Monday, 10 November 2014
REVIEW: FOO FIGHTERS-SONIC HIGHWAYS
Sonic The Rock God.
Drive down the highways of the Foo Fighters epic career on the rock road all your life and you'll come across many stops 'One By One'. To your left there's 'The Colour And The Shape' and to your right some 'Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace'. All 'In Your Honour' like the self-titled beginning and the "I'll be coming home next year" dedication of 'There Is Nothing Left To Lose'. Just right behind you you'll also see some 'Wasting Light' in the rearview as you rock along with your favourite bands greatest hits. But its hard to believe its been around three years since you made that stop on your trip. As a matter of fact its even harder to comprehend that you've been on this journey for 20 years now. A journey that started in the grunge Nirvana heaven that is Seattle, Washington. Now like a basketball Supersonic, there are some 'Sonic Highways' up ahead as the Foo Fighters arrive at their destination. Album number eight is an eight-track L.P. that road trips across eight locations across the United States as a different song is tuned into and recorded in each city. Making this latest collection a concept project worthy of an eight part HBO series special featuring legends like The Eagles and Dolly Parton.
New York City, Chicago, Illinois, Nashville, Tennessee, Washington D.C., Austin, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, Los Angeles, California and of course Seattle continues the map of Dave Grohl and his bands lasting legacy. This eight for eight is a wonder. Just like the amazing artwork, bringing together all the locations this soars as high as the cities famous landmarks. Are you ready for the guided tour? The lead single and track produced with Rick Nielson takes us to the Windy City of Chicagoland and its a storm of a forecast first offering. Blowing in like a Dylan hurricane with rip roaring guitars, this classic, emphatic, fighting single of the Foo's type is no pretender. Then on a coach trip to the nations capital they lyrically detail the history of 'The City Beautiful', Washington D.C. with 'The Feat and Famine' from the political power to the poor poverty. Its a real and raw record for a band that are growing road and world weary and wise as Grohl growls, "They took your soul and they took you for fools/Took all the windows from prisons and schools/Now what's a poor man left to do?" Then leaving the home of the great Lincoln Memorial in D.C., the guys head for the Parthenon of similar structure as the next two records see the group looking for the music capital of the United States and the rest of the world. First in Nashville, Tennessee they find a musical 'Congregation' in the 'Music City' that saw Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton take the country music walk of fame. Soon you'll find the likes of Willie Nelson rocking to this one down the bars of 'Music Row'. Singing along to Dave's depth of "I’ve been throwing knives/To see just where they land/Now my world is in your hands" and the illuminating of the dark "The voice upon the stage/Is the heart inside a cage". Then the capital of live music has its say for the double dose of 'What Did I Do/God Is My Witness' as Austin, Texas proves the perfect home for the Foo's to earn their Wild West spurs. In America's real stage for music Grohl's group don't leave it without an epic encore.
Hollywood has to have its say however in a piece of music worthy of a movie. We're not done yet and a stopover in 'Hotel California' is required as Gary Clark Jnr takes them 'Outside' on some Los Angeles times that shine brighter than the boardwalk of Venice Beach in July. This one bowls you over and is worthy of its own walk of fame. Still more cities and their individual and inspiring cultures sing their say and right to be heard as the musical capital of the red white and blue and the trotting globe. How could you even do a record like this without the city of New Orleans, Louisiana of the Preservation Hall Jazz band for that matter? Hitting the French Quarter, taking it all Big Easy and spending and spinning a record like they've never played or we've never heard before, this piece of music parties like Madi Gras. This whole album in fact is like Jon Favreau's 'Chef' food trip across country, making some of the same stops too. Still, sounding good as that all-star affair movie looked, music is the flavour here though. Scintillating the senses, all the way home. Where 'Subterranean' finds them back in Seattle but with no homesick blues as Cobain's right hand man who recently mended things with Love, becomes reflective in retrospect never for a second forgetting where he came from. After checking in there's one more stop to make however as the Foo's head to the worlds most famous city, New York for the flowing 'I Am The River' that continues this journey, like the number eight after this track offering comes to a needle jumping close. Set to illuminate the Knick Mecca of Madison Square Garden like the square a few blocks away this closes a record that is a 'Times Like These' classic. This former college band (yep we're all getting on) continues this nostalgic trip across country, music and their rock and roll, Hall Of Fame career like a starter, main and dessert meal in the Hard Rock. You don't just have to savour however a catalogue collection and band that has become as fondly reminiscent as their Counting Crows and Weezer counterparts who have also released great albums this year. This eight track keeps turning like the long highway to ruin ahead. The Foo Fighters are forever. TIM DAVID HARVEY.