Real rock giants are thin on the ground these days. Various wannabes and bloated veterans may clog up our airwaves but you can count the relevant and crucial kind on two fingers: Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters. That the former have borrowed the frontman of the latter is no coincidence, and both have us itching to punch the air and shout ‘awesome, dudes!’ far more often than is right and proper.
Dave Grohl’s alt.rock credentials are obviously beyond question, so there’s really no need to mention the ‘N’ word here. Except to say that in the way that Nirvana were an inspired blend of The Beatles and Melvins, Foo Fighters are a near-perfect synthesis of Badfinger, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin and The Who. They make ’70s FM-radio rock for post-millennial ears and few stadium-sized players can crank out killer hit singles with such impressive regularity.
On their seventh studio album – produced by old mucker Butch Vig – it’s ‘Rope’ that fulfils the immediate-wallop brief. A clipped, blood-rushing thrill from its opening phased guitars to the abrupt ending, it’s about as good as grungey pop-metal gets. Although ‘Dear Rosemary’ (featuring Bob Mould) comes close, as does the full-tilt ‘White Limo’, which nods at Pixies, Megadeth and Chuck Berry. Grohl has mentioned his desire to return to rawk basics with ‘Wasting Light’, and it’s mission accomplished on that score. No ballads, no acoustic guitar and just a dash of strings. If ‘Arlandria’ is a bit of a chugger, ‘Miss the Misery’ rather strains at the seams and ‘These Days’ might be an offcut from ‘The Colour and the Shape’, that still leaves eight slam-dunks of superior quality pop-metal. Diplo recently tweeted his juvenile disgust at how old the Foos are looking these days. Not sounding. Our (flight) case rests.