Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Review by Jack Foley
FOO Fighters go back to basics for seventh album Wasting Light and fans should be pleased with the results.
A typical mix of power and melody, the album is a lively brew that takes few risks, yet still yields big rewards. It’s certain to maintain their status as all round rock Gods and one of the biggest bands on the planets.
The novelty value on this one stems from a couple of things: Butch Vig produces, Alan Moulder mixes and the album was recorded entirely on analog tape in the garage of Grohl’s home in California’s San Fernando Valley.
Hence, the no computers/no software back to basics approach has resulted in a raw sound that’s more akin to the band’s earliest work, particularly as there are several occasions when the band seem to be giving it their all (one can only imagine how a stadium will explode upon hearing some of the tracks in live form).
To further spice things up, the LP also features contributions from Grohl’s old Nirvana buddy Krist Novoselic and Husker Du’s Bob Mould – although, in truth, they’re not so pronounced as to be instantly noticeable; more an underlining of the fact that Foo Fighters continue to be as popular within the industry as outside (hence, Lemmy appearing as a chauffeur to them in the excellent White Limo video).
But we digress… what of the songs? The template is largely the same. There’s no one track that marks an alarming change of style, and not much to surprise.
Rather, the pleasure is in the riffs, the energy and the feeling that the band are having a good time that easily translates to the listener, in spite of some dark lyricism.
Bridge Burning sets this rolling in incendiary fashion, mixing a raw set of verses with a chorus that bears comparison with Queens of The Stone Age. It’s a pulverising opening, followed by lead single Rope, and its initially stop-start riffs.
Straight-forward, crowd-pleasing rock it may be… but there’s an undeniable catchiness to them.
Dear Rosemary, though, offers the first true highlight… a classic rock offering that slows down the tempo slightly, features Bob Mould, and drops a genuinely brilliant chorus that compliments the melodic verses. It’s a love letter to Rosemary of sorts… but a track that’s seeking forgiveness and it packs a powerful wallop instrumentally and emotionally.
At the other end of the spectrum, White Limo just hits you with killer riff after killer riff, stabbing drums and a Goth-like vocal from Grohl that combines menace and vitriol to heady effect. It somehow works much better than it should for a riot of noise.
The melodic structure returns, however, with another of the album’s gems, Arlandria, which looks set to become another massive anthem for them, while These Days shows a bipolar quality in the lyrics, while combining melody and power to suitably empowering effect.
Admittedly, there are a couple of journeyman songs, such as Back & Forth and Miss The Misery – but then then, Grohl and company can deliver a killer riff to still get you excited.
But in the final two tracks – I Should Have Known and Walk – the ensure the album finishes on a high; the former, in particular, an initially beguiling offering that slowly builds into an epic break-up anthem (“no, I cannot forgive you yet”) complete with Novoselic on guest duty. It is, arguably, the album’s outstanding momet.
Walk, though, rounds things up in suitably anthemic/radio friendly fashion, ensuring that fans and even the odd newcomer will be keen to repeat the journey all over again.
It’s a great seventh album.
View the video to Rope:
Download picks: Dear Rosemary, White Limo, Alandria, These Days, I Should Have Known, Walk