Wasting Light as an album brings a textured sound to a signature Foo Fighter sound that seemed to be slightly missing in their previous album, Echoes, Silence, Patients and Grace. I feel from their previous effort, baring two or three songs, the band needed to bring their sound back to what they’re so loved for. The hard hitting guitars from Chris Shiflett backed by the tight rhythms of the bass From Nate Mendel and the drums of Taylor Hawkins with the ear piercing shouts and screams from Dave Grohl.
They left their fans wanting something more with a bite to fill their IPod playlists when sitting on the bus on their journey home from work, or school, hell I drive so scrap that whole bus journey completely!
So, Dave brought his band back to his garage and started work on a new album, with all intentions of “going back to their roots,” and for Wasting Light, they achieve that, combining the influence from their back catalogue as well as continuing to develop their current rhythmic sound.
From a brief absence as an official member of the band, Pat Smear, originally from The Germs and later with Nirvana returns to his friend’s band to record on the new album, dropping the job as a touring member and reclaiming his full time position which he left in 1997 now to join once more as a fifth element.
With a new line up, and more ideas to share around the room, the songs that resulted do not disappoint.
After the opening scratched notes of the opening track Bridge Burning, the main riff beginnings with a single distorted guitar, being joined and amplified with a second and quickly coupled with the drums and bass and a third guitar, together building the intro louder until all instruments silence at a climax except for an on going riff.
Like a bolt of lightening, Grohl’s shouts his opening line “These are my famous last words” before the band explodes together. Instantly the album means business, bringing the sound of their live magic to the studio.
The lead single for the album Rope combines elements of their developing pop style chorus with a riff based verse achieving a strong song to pull life long Foo Fighters fans back into the swing of things as well as bringing new fans to notice what they’re missing.
Personally, songs one through to five are a perfect combination of songs that solidify the first half of the album as really well made. Rope and Dear Rosemary are straightforward modern hard rock, with loud choruses and infections verses; those are the kind of songs that earn the Foo’s their extra fans from off the radio. Not a bad thing I may add, just that they are more radio friendly than the likes of White Limo.
White Limo is what I believe a slight nod of the head to a slightly heavier time in their history. Distortion runs through it’s entirety like a virus that won’t give up. When the band makes their appearance together, it’s a simple riff based jam that gets a Mosh pit started. Grohl shouts for the duration of the song from what sounds like through a loud speaker – it’s nasty and gritty and for any radio friendly fans of the Foo Fighters will be a song they would more than likely skip. Me though, and I’m sure any lover of heavy rock and metal would appreciate it. It has the same feel as a bonus track with the same title name they released (on an anniversary edition) on The Colour and the Shape album.
So far so good, right? These are songs that get you pumped, thirsty for more intensity. Although that isn’t the case for the next two songs, never fear.
These Days and Back & Forth are a direction of more pop rock – for me a b-side collection could have done with those songs. These Days is a song with a decent opening slow riff, but as it continues, it seems repetitive. Back & Forth, for me is what people describe as a filler song. The main riff is a simple (and widely used on a number of other Foo Fighter tracks) one note continuous strum broken every 3 seconds with a second guitar scratch, all leading up to the bridge which is the best section of the song …
Okay that was my negative reaction to two songs that seems to split the album into thirds. Once the previous two songs are over, we have A Matter of Time and Miss the Misery, two songs that bring you a feeling again that this is a good rock album. After these two songs, a track by what seems to be the most personal track on the album begins with a lonely sounding violin with an eerie reverb. I Should Have Known … Now, some people say this is a song about Kurt Cobain, but people have been saying such things with older songs that Dave has written for years.
For me though, I actually do think it is a song about the late Nirvana front man.
“I’ve should have known, that it would end this way. I’ve should have known, there was no other way, didn’t hear your warning, Damn my heart gone deaf.”
Straight away, you can feel the emotion of the song as the quite guitar builds in, followed by the bass. “Though I cannot forgive you yet,” Dave sings as the song continues to builds.
Like his former band, starting quiet and having explosive choruses was a trait that Nirvana became famous for. It seems to me that this song builds up in that way, and as Dave shouts his last line as the music reaches its peak, a hard-hitting bass riff then explodes, played none other that Krist Novoselic, the original bass player for Nirvana.
Considering the links to his past on this song, you can make up your own minds if this is a song for his dear departed.
To name my top three standout tracks on this album, they are Alrandria, I Should Have Known and Bridge Burning, but with the likes of Rope, Dear Rosemary and Miss the Misery, that list of three could extend to six. But don’t take it from me, have a listen for yourself and enjoy a sound that seems to be missing in recent times.
Dave started the band as a one-man project in 1994, quickly evolving into a band, and not just any typical band that survives maybe one or two albums, but a band that has continued to grow and evolve, eventually becoming one of the biggest bands still going. It’s not every day (or actually ever) that the surviving members of Led Zeppelin join you on stage to a sold out Wembley and play.
Wasting Light is an album that will be amongst their best so far. News down the line is that they are working on a new album … so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, because Dave Grohl and his loud group of rock stars aren’t retiring anytime soon.