After being stuck behind the shadows of rock legend Dave Grohl for so long, Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel takes centre stage in his latest project, Lieutenant. He’s also recruited several other musicians including Modest Blood’s Joe Plummer, Helmet’s Paige Hamilton Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk and fellow Foo Fighter’s member, Chris Shiflett. Impressively, Mendel recorded and produced the album in the Foo Fighter’s Californian studio, during the blitz of the Sonic Highways tour.
The final result, If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going to Eat for a Week is a fresh take on modern indie rock. It’s got a relaxed, summer vibe to it that’s created by the pretty melodies in songs like ‘Prepared Remarks’ alongside Mendel’s soft, easy listenable vocals. They may not be as strong as Mr Grohl’s raucous vocal pipes but they enhance the style of the music. Some songs like ‘Some Remove’ give off a jazz sound what with the cool keyboards that are infused with acoustic guitars.
Lieutenant shows Mendel as a jack of all trades not only with his ability to sing, play drums and pick up the guitar, but also the diversity of sounds on this record. He’s been able to take a risk, break away from the high-energy loud rock that Foo Fighters exude and he has taken up a similar, soft rock style similar to Death Cab for Cutie and there’s even similarities to Jimmy Eat World – for instance, in the chorus of ‘Belle Epoque’ that is sprinkled with pop rock influences. Think of songs like ‘Carry You’ by Jimmy Eat World and you’ll get it!
Vibrant and colourful are the perfect descriptions of Mendel’s first effort with Lieutenant. He’s going into a very different direction than his other band. The experimentation of sound next to the irresistible summery feel makes it exciting to listen to. However, Mendel’s voice lets down the record and often sounds like a 16 year old who hasn’t quite learnt how to sing properly mumbling his words; you can tell that he hasn’t had much practice. Nevertheless, Mendel has still proved himself as a well-rounded musician and for that reason his latest project is definitely worth paying attention to.