There Is Nothing Left To Lose
Nothing left to lose? Oh, I wouldn't say that. This reviewer for one wouldn't mind mislaying the notion that the artist formerly known as Grunge Ringo remains stuck in the generic grunge mediocrity mi
In which case, then, 'Stacked Actors' is a pretty promising opening gambit. The guitars have the kind of blood-curdling fat metal fuzz of 'Lithium', and, lock up your tattoo artist, Mr Grohl has got something to say.
"Can we fake it, can we make it look like we want?/Stacked dead actors, stacked to the rafters, line up the bastards and cry when they all die blonde". Surely he's not referring to... or maybe... well, two (in)famous blondes spring to mind, but only one of them's dead.
As for, "I'm impressed by your beautiful chest, I didn't mean to make a big scene", well, answers on a distant Internet site somewhere in Oregon.
More to the point, there's a visceral punk power here they've rarely let loose enough to show before, and an explosive chorus worthy of that other band he used to be in. Better still, in the cathartic screaming of 'Breakout' they seem to have rediscovered that psychotic streak that made them so startling.
Meanwhile, the FM harmonies and spiky pop sensibilities echo skinny-tied noo wave, and even AOR, but with an urgency and a viscerality that is pure hardcore. If anything, this is the style Foo Fighters have made their own on this record, replacing the lazy grunge tendencies of the 'This Is A Call' era. And if 'Learn To Fly' and 'MIA' sound a bit too much like the soundtrack to the thoughtful bit from an American teen flick, they're still as good tunes as this band has ever produced.
Elsewhere, 'Aurora' shows Grohl's increasing adeptness at writing soaring, swooning love songs that you once never thought this band had the grace to pull off. They can still bore the pants off you, mind. 'Next Year' is a plodding nonevent of a song, and 'Generator' meanders and simpers ineffectually. Otherwise, though, gut-stabbing riffs provide the kind of ready-made hooks that drag you in before you're bludgeoned by heavy metal thunder. It's a classic formula, but it works as well as it ever did.
So let's try another take on that title - something to do with leaving the past behind?
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday