thu 23/01/2020

CD: Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold

CD: Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold

US rock giants' ninth is polished and gigantic but follows their usual formula

Or possibly concrete and glitter

Foo Fighters are a global superstar act. And why not, as the late film critic Barry Norman used to say. After seeing them at Glastonbury, they strike me as an irresistible proposition; their Sonic Highways TV documentaries, about music in American cities, are superb; and Dave Grohl, even after decades in the spotlight, still seems like a top fellow. Someone said to me recently they didn’t like him because he was “too nice”. That’s stupid, isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to share a beer over a barbecue with him?

Concrete and Gold involved a lot of barbecuing. Recorded at a studio complex on Sunset Boulevard with pop producer Greg Kurstin of Adele/Sia/Lily Allen fame, each day would end with a big old meat-fry and booze-up. Others in nearby studios would join in. Thus, this is likely the only rock album to feature a member of Boyz II Men (as well as backing vocal appearances from Justin Timberlake and Alison Mosshart). It comes across as a shiny, giant stadium rock event, so polished it glimmers, like ELO having it out with Cheap Trick or, on the monster-riffing “La Dee Da”, The Sweet. The enjoyment in its making is more than evident.

Grohl always wants to challenge himself, and recent albums have had parameters set to achieve this, but his band would benefit enormously from a complete musical rethink. They’re so talented and engaged with what they do, yet while they're masters of the vast melodic chorus, and of filling every inch of sonic canvas to build a MASSIVE sound, the format for their songs is predictable. And they also drift into vintage rock pastiche, especially on the title track, which is, in essence, a tribute to Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb”. Never mind. Songs such as the Queen-meets-Muse monster “The Sky Is a Neighbourhood” are air-punching gig-slayers, while “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” showcases Grohl in Cat Stevens-ish catchy campfire mode.

Concrete and Gold is fun, it’s good-natured and full of verve, and there are parts of it that zing, but this is Foo Fighters' ninth album. Don’t they ever feel like really changing things up? Maybe not. It works for them, after all, and they enjoy it. Then again, someone just popped their head around the door and said, “Is this Foo Fighters? Why do they always sound the same?”

Overleaf: Watch the video for Foo Fighters "The Sky is a Neighbourhood"

Don’t they ever feel like really changing things up? Maybe not


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters