“It’s fucking ON!” Foo Fighters yesterday (January 20) delivered three words fans have waited three years to hear. Having made their live return late in 2013 at Mexico’s 55,000-capacity Foro Sol stadium, the band posted a picture of a row of master tapes labelled ‘Foo Fighters LP 8’ to their official Instagram account earlier this week, confirming that recording of their follow-up to 2011’s ‘Wasting Light’ has begun. The news raises a plenty of questions – not least, will the Foos headline a UK festival now they have a new material to air? Of course, the biggest question of all is – with frontman Dave Grohl teasing a “fucking rad” and “badass” collection of songs, just what will the new record sound like? Here’s what we’d like from the record.
A return to Grohl’s grunge roots
In the three years since the Foos’ last album, Dave Grohl has spent a lot of time exorcising old ghosts. Last year he revisited the space where two decades previous he recorded Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ for documentary ‘Sound City’, where the surviving members of the group – Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic and back-up guitarist Pat Smear – had an impromptu jam, switching the cameras off to play a vocal-less rendition of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. “It was heavy,” Grohl sighed afterwards. With the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death fast approaching, there’d be no better way of honouring his former band mate than with a return to the dirtier, more raucous sound of his youth. ‘Wasting Light’ saw Grohl reunite with producer Butch Vig for the first time since ‘Nevermind’. Maybe this time they could reunite with scuzz-loving ‘In Utero’ producer Steve Albini?
Bring in the big guns
Dave Grohl is the music elite’s go-to man for collaborations, having worked with everyone from Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones to Josh Homme, Jimmy Page and uh, Val Kilmer over the years. Just today news emerged he’ll be performing with members of Fleetwood Mac and Nine Inch Nails at The Grammys. Foo Fighters albums, on the other hand, have been curiously closed-door affairs, with few guest spots. Okay, so members of Husker Du appeared on ‘Wasting Light’, as did Krist Novoselic, but otherwise, the Foos have mostly gone it alone on record. Grohl clearly relishes the reinvigorating effects of bouncing ideas off other big name musicians, so why not ask some of his many friends to return the favour here? One of 2012’s biggest surprises was how well his collaboration with Paul McCartney turned out, with the former Beatle fronting the surviving members of Nirvana to crank out a deliciously noisy jam they played a Hurricane Sandy benefit. Involve McCartney here and we could see the pair build on that chemistry.
Choruses the size of small continents
Alright, it sort of goes without saying, but our biggest hope for the new Foos album is that it delivers massive, massive tunes. With eight albums, they’ve now released as many as or more records than Oasis, Fugazi, Nirvana, Pixies, The Clash, Black Flag, Pulp, QOTSA, Soundgarden and Faith No More. It’d be easy to get complacent having outstripped and outlived those acts. Here’s hoping they don’t, and release a record with the same kind of anthemic hooks as tracks like ‘Breakout’, ‘The Pretender’ and of course, ‘Everlong’. Especially if we’re going to be swaying to new tracks in festival fields this summer…