Thursday, September 13, 2007
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
I've received an advance copy of the new Foo Fighters album 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace', so I thought I'd do a little write-up.
After listening to the album four times in a row, what stands out the most is that Grohl obviously took a lot away from the acoustic tour they did in support of the second (quieter) half of 'In Your Honour' (which provided the material for 2006's live album and DVD 'Skin and Bones'). The new acoustic arrangements of old Foo Fighters songs must have sparked something inside Grohl's head because 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' is full of orchestral touches that provide a whole new dimension to his songwriting.
Of course there are the standard rock anthems (albiet with new acoustic/orchestral touches) that you expect from Foo Fighters, like first single "The Pretender", "Erase Replace", "Long Road to Ruin" (my guess for next single #1), and "Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup's Running)" (my guess for next single #2). But what really stands out are the mellower acoustic/piano heavy tracks that make up the majority of the album.
"Let it Die" starts out as a quiet, gentle acoustic solo piece with only Grohl's vocals and an acoustic guitar. But it slowly builds, growing more and more urgent until around the two-minute mark you're hit with a few bars of loud, crunch-heavy guitar leading into a full-on rock chorus/outro. This is Dave Grohl taking Jimmy Page's concept of light and shade to the extreme.
"Come Alive" is another example of this light and shade concept, building from a mid-tempo melodic piece to balls to the wall, bombast and howling rock.
"Stranger Things Have Happened" is purely acoustic with Grohl singing over one guitar, with a second guitar joining in occassionally to add accents with some nice acoustic licks.
"Summer's End" is a laid-back electric track with a California country aura and a chorus whose melody has hints of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Carry On".
"The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners" is an acoustic instrumental that sounds like 'In Your Honour's "Razor" at double-speed.
"Statues" is the centerpiece. It is by far the best track on the album and one of the most interesting pieces of music Dave Grohl has ever written. It's like nothing you've ever heard from this band before, but I hope Grohl's got more like this in him. The only downside is that it's only three minutes and forty-seven seconds long. I want more.
"But Honestly" is another acoustic>rock, light and shade song. They use the formula a lot on this album, but it doesn't get old because it works. If it was good enough for Led Zeppelin, it's good enough for me.
"Home" is a slow piano ballad in the vein of The White Stripes' "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)" from 'Get Behind Me Satan'. While Grohl doesn't have the raw emotion that Jack White spills out, it's still a really beautiful way to close the album. Though I am a big sucker for album-closing piano ballads (see Aerosmith's "You See Me Crying" from 'Toys in the Attic' and "Home Tonight" from 'Rocks')
Overall it's an amazing album. It really shows Dave Grohl growing as a songwriter and is a great end result of the experimentation on 'In Your Honour'. If 'In Your Honour' was their 'Physical Graffiti', then 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' is their 'Led Zeppelin III'.
When 'In Your Honour' was released, I thought it was amazing, but wondered if they would be able to pass the decade mark and still remain relevant. This new record shows that not only have they survived, but there's a whole new chapter that's just beginning.
'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' hits stores on September 25th.
You can pre-order the album on iTunes for $9.99 and get an exclusive bonus track, plus a unique presale password for the upcoming tour (dates TBA so far).
You can pre-order the CD or Vinyl version from the Foo Fighters website for $25 each and get a free t-shirt with your order. I'm gonna pre-order the vinyl edition today, I have the 4-LP vinyl edition of 'In Your Honour' and the sound is absolutely amazing. So much richer than the cd, it's absolutely beautiful.
You can always pre-order it from Amazon for $9.99 or from Deep Discount for $13.97 (w/ free s&h).