>> It’s clear now. Foo Fighters have saved themselves from slipping further into a butt-rock coma of boredom that Sonic Highways seemed to suggest was ahead. Even their latest EP release, Saint Cecilia, wasn’t fantastic at convincing longtime fans that The Foo wasn’t simply becoming a monotonous force of formulaic platinum status rock. Everything that Concrete and Gold brings to the table, from its energy and catchiness to its thrash-inducing breakdowns, suggests pure genius from Dave and the gang.
The most powerful aspect of Concrete and Gold as an album is its transitions. T-Shirt’s cool-down into Run’s somber pick progression starts the record off with a relaxed and unassuming tone, thus allowing the first scream-filled breakdown in Run to hit home and make neck hairs rise autonomously. Another noteworthy transition is from Sunday Rain into The Line. Sunday Rain’s groovy chorus that’s saturated with vocals and guitar fades into a single track of contemporary piano warming up, making the listener wonder if they are losing their mind before the first verse of The Line enters with lyrics about questioning one’s own integrity.
This record is familiar, but not a repeat. As with many artists, each Foo Fighters album has some sort of theme; A tone, a groove, an auditory moral of sorts. This record stands alone despite being number nine in their full-length repertoire, and its theme is simply the ability to encourage the listener to put their entire body into listening.
Despite the album being immensely energetic and in some cases intense, it does possess tracks that are closer to the average ballad than the average thrasher. Dirty Water and Happy Ever After (Zero Hour) are smooth and sweet rock pieces featuring acoustic guitar and soft vocal melodies. Concrete and Gold, the title track features heavier instruments but leverages them for a powerful backbone to the extremely legato and somber vocals.
The backup vocal arrangements are the best they’ve ever delivered. They took simple oohs and ahs, la-las and echoed refrains and crafted them perfectly before injecting them in all the right places. It’s as if Make It Right, The Sky Is A Neighborhood and Happy Ever After (Zero Hour) are fat veins accepting a sort China White vocal support.
The group scared us with Sonic Highways when they clearly had the potential within them for more knocking of socks off.
It’s obvious that head, heart and sheer rock & roll willpower still lie within each Fighter of Foo. Faded feather tattoos, countless grey hairs, and wrinkled hands are clearly all bullshit in terms of their ability to indicate age, just as various platinum records and immense fame in the rearview mirror is no indicator of losing the ability to create genuine, humble rock. 4.9/5 <<