CD Review New Foos Mix Loud and Light
Acoustically Advanced ‘Echoes’ May Alienate Rock Fans
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
The Foo Fighters are back with quite an interesting new album that will most likely cause mixed feelings throughout their rather broad fan base.
Though traditionally known to have a very energetic, upbeat, and rock-oriented sound, Foo Fighters’ acoustic experiment on the second disc of their last major release, In Your Honor, was actually quite successful and well received. So well received, apparently, that the band has continued to pursue this lighter sound, which is evident on many tracks on their newest release, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, which came out on Tuesday. While there is still plenty on the album in the same vein as classic Foo Fighters’ rocked-out tracks, long-time fans may not approve of the band’s new softer sounding focus.
The band further proves its acoustic prowess with songs such as “Stranger Things Have Happened,” album-closer “Home,” and instrumental piece “Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners.” In particular, the reflective “Stranger Things Have Happened” is an impressive showing of the band’s songwriting abilities. It is yet another one of their unbelievably catchy songs that will probably get stuck in your head many times, but in this case with a much lighter feel than ever before. Hearing an acoustic guitar battle during the instrumental ballad was unexpected, refreshing, and extremely pleasing to the ears.
Tracks that the head-banging crowd will particularly appreciate are “Erase Replace,” “Cheer Up Boys,” and the album’s first single, “The Pretender.” “Erase Replace” seems to be the main relentless heavy-hitter on the disc and will almost certainly become a staple of their live shows. The drums here are especially prevalent and welcomely overbearing, undoubtedly in response to all the acoustic tracks on which drummer Taylor Hawkins remains uncharacteristically quiet. Hopefully these tracks will prove to older fans that Dave Grohl and company still know how to rock, even though they have chosen to pursue lighter sounds as well.
On top of all this, what truly brings the new album together are the songs that tie together both the Foo Fighters’ old rock roots and their new acoustic interests, such as “Let It Die,” “Come Alive,” and “But, Honestly.” Of these, the most flawlessly executed is easily “Let It Die,” which practically redefines the transition from mellow to rocked-out mid song, as it straddles the border for quite some time before exploding for a fantastic finale.
Having now mixed their two previously separate sounds on a single disc, the future of Foo Fighters’ live show remains up in the air. After releasing In Your Honor, the band went on a traditional tour playing their older material and selections from In Your Honor s first disc. The band later did an entirely acoustic tour, often joined by folk legend Bob Dylan. Now that they are willingly mixing both sounds, it will be interesting to see how their live performances will transform and how fans will take the change. Personally, I’m quite happy with the new Foos, and impressed to see such a large band make such a bold move.
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is possibly Foo Fighters’ most complex release to date, but it may not be fully satisfying to many considering its wide range of sounds. Some will love the rock. Some will love the acoustic. Some will just think The Foo Fighters are all played out. Those that have a taste for both sides, however, will probably hold on to this CD for quite some time.