After much hype, secret gigs and teasers from the band, Foo Fighters finally released their ambitious eighth album, Sonic Highways. But is it all it’s been cracked up to be? With eight songs recorded in eight iconic studios in eight US cities, the band wanted to reflect these cities in the sound.
The album opens with an epic belter, suspiciously sounding like Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ but arguably the best track off the album. Featuring some killer guitar riffs from Rick Nielsen, ‘Something From Nothing’ is a slow building song with that iconic and exciting Foos climax that was inspired by Chicago. Influenced by DC’s hardcore scene, ‘Feast and The Famine’ makes a good second track which is followed by warm country-sounding ‘Congregation’ that sounds like a crossover of oldies ‘Times Like These’ and ‘Learn to Fly’.
After this however the dynamics of the album seem to drop and become somewhat repetitive. The resemblance between the openings ‘Congregation’ and ‘In The Clear’ is instantly recognisable. Austin-inspired and almost Green Day-esque ‘What Did I Do?/God as My Witness’ brings a country bluesy feel to the album but completely flips the band’s recognizable style on its head. Another standout track is ‘Outside’ but the album seems to get quieter and gentler towards the end. It does not flow as smoothly with its dynamics as previous albums. These quieter tracks on the album may be only recognizable due to Grohl’s voice.
One would have thought that the multiple guests would influence the sound of the record and feature quite heavily, but this is not the case. You could almost not know that the album features guest appearances. It seems somewhat lacking in dynamics and cleverly constructed lyrics probably due to the fact the album’s lyrics deals with the feelings Grohl had regarding each city during production according to guitarist Chris Shiflett.
Despite its catchy choruses and riffs, the power-pop album does not fully reach its hyped up expectations. Besides the first track, it does not want to make you jump off the walls and scream out your vocal chords. Considering it represents the twenty year mark for the band, the amount of tracks seems a bit mediocre and it lacks innovation.