Foo Fighters Return with New Album “Concrete and Gold”
It’s been three years since 2014’s Sonic Highways in which the band embarked a quest to record 8 songs in a different city that contributed majorly to the shape of music. From the country origins of Nashville to the blues roots of Austin to the punk scene of NYC. It was an ambitious project filled with guest musicians ranging from Zac Brown to Joe Walsh to Gary Clark Jr. The album was accompanied by an HBO special directed by Grohl.
There’s no denying that Sonic Highways felt more like a Dave Grohl solo album with the amount of guest musicians and writing mainly done by Grohl. It was a passion project in which a majority of the band took the backburner. But now the band has returned with an album all of their own. Concrete & Gold finds the group is in full force delivering an album that explores new sounds and bringing the band to the forefront with the help of some special guests, too…
It’s the Foos’ first album without legendary producer Butch Vig (Garbage, Nirvana) who produced 2011’s Wasting Light and Sonic Highways. For this album the band enlisted Greg Kurstin for producer. Kurstin’s credits include major artists such as Sia, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, and Halsey. In a previous interview, frontman Dave Grohl comments on the band’s new producer choice:
“The last couple of albums had been made in ways that we were trying to get out of our comfort zone. I thought, ‘What’s the strangest thing for this band to do at this point?’ And then I realized it was just to go into a studio and make a fucking album like a normal band.”
Kurstin had never worked with a band this heavy before and the Foo Fighters have never worked with a pop producer. So, what are the results?
The results are a pretty damn solid rock album from one of rock’s biggest groups.
The album works as whole, bringing together Kurstin’s pop ideas and the bands signature heavy riffs to make an album like no other in the Foos catalog. It sounds like a Foo Fighters record but with a twist. Many of the tracks feature a modern rock sound in the vain of Imagine Dragons. Tracks like “La Dee Da”, “Concrete and Gold”, and “the Line” showcase classic Foos heaviness but feature heavily fuzzed out guitars and bass and also some vocal effects. While tracks like “Dirty Water”, “Happily Ever After (Zero Hour)”, and “Arrows” showcase some of Grohl’s best lyrics to date.
The album also features backing vocals from Justin Timberlake on the track “Make it Right” and Sir Paul McCartney playing drums on the Taylor Hawkins lead track “Sunday Rain”. It’s also the first album to feature keyboardist Rami Jaffe (the Wallflowers) as an official member.
It may take diehard fans a listen or two to get used to the new record. It’s not a smooth, easy, clean rocking sound as some of their previous albums. It’s a bit rough around the edges and will take a minute to soak in. The album is something, sonically, the Foos have never done before. The vocals are soaring and overdubbed creating an almost spacious atmosphere. Several of the tracks feature an acoustic build up to a full rocking sound. It’s not their best album to date and doesn’t hold up to their past two albums but it’s still an album that showcases some classic Foos elements with a modern take.
Concrete and Gold cements the Foos in the rock genre while still opening doors to new ideas and ways to writing a song. The band shows no signs of calling it quits and prove that a few years off are the best way to approach a new album.
Concrete and Gold is in stores now.