OF COURSE, IT’S DAVID GROHL NOW. Not Dave. Dave is the name of the bloke who fixes your car but knocks off the VAT, or the guy down the local who doesn’t mind if you twat him at pool. Dave is a regular guy. A nice guy. The kind of bloke who plays drums like a deranged Muppet and grins like one too.
Admittedly, a slight change of Christian name is unlikely to transform a Foo Fighter into a soundtrack auteur but, seemingly without any other logical reason, it’s got Grohl the gig for Touch, Paul Schrader’s adaptation of Elmore Get Shorty Leonard’s bonkers satire about faith-healing starring Bridget Fonda, Skeet Ulrich and Christopher Walken.
And in keeping with this bizarre scenario, it’s actually not half bad. Steering clear of his usual bubblegrunge fare, Grohl tries his hand at just about everything else. A spot of surf geetar for ‘Bill Hill Theme’ and ‘Spinning Newspapers’, some tender country pickings for ‘Making Popcorn’ and, with the controls set for ‘all moody and filmic, like’, lots of cute spy-cocktail bits that sound like the twangy B-sides REM used to knock out before they got all big and sensitive.
But Touch is a ’90s film and that means Proper Pop Songs are needed to use over the clips for Movies, Games And Videos. No problem. Grohl allows Nice Dave back out of the cupboard for ‘How Do You Do’, a sanitised ‘Debaser’ straight off the soundtrack to grunge flick Singles. Which is pleasant enough (if unlikely to feature in the bit where Walken does his usual intense stare) but it’s when Grohl ropes in Louise Post from Veruca Salt that things take a turn for the weird. Rather than the grungefest you’d expect, Grohl and Post come over all cuddly and deliver, well, shoegazing. Possibly used when la Fonda is doing rudies in soft focus, ‘Saints In Love’ is all Lush-like coos and guitar noodlings.
But ‘Touch’ is the one. A blend of US college pop (STOP!) and the Cocteau Twins (DOUBLE STOP!), on paper it sounds like the worst idea since Titanic 2. On shiny CD, it sounds like Grohl’s grin made blissfully real; a saccharine, dreamy, loved-up affair guaranteed to get filmgoers reaching for the Kleenex way after the happy ending.
While no masterpiece, Grohl’s soundtrack goes further than a million Foo Fighters albums to dispelling those Grunge Ringo jibes. Smells like screen spirit it is, then.