Sound City Players
Sound City: Real To Reel


2.0
poor

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
March 29th, 2013 | 19 replies


Release Date: 03/12/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They must not have liked that studio all that much.

In the world of music, there are a handful of places any aficionado will instantly recognise as sacred. The Hammersmith Odeon. Brixton Academy. CBGB's. Apple Music studios. These are important places, where meaningful things took place; they have earned their legendary status, and are now to be held in it for all eternity. Right underneath these staples of music history, however, there are a handful of other places that often do not get as much recognition, despite being no less important in the overall scheme of things.

One such place is - or was - Sound City studios. Though none but the most enlightened of music lovers will be likely to gush about it should you bring it up, this recording complex bore witness to the birth of numerous variably important albums, from opuses by Fleetwood Mac and Cheap Trick to Nirvana's landscape-changing Nevermind.

Unfortunately, the studio's importance in this regard was not enough to prevent its closure. It was, however, enough to warrant a tribute from one of its most dedicated fans - ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters Jack-of-all-trades Dave Grohl. Not content with merely purchasing the complex's original, vintage mixing board, Grohl took it upon himself to direct a documentary about Sound City and - along with some choice names from what is undoubtedly an impressive list of contacts - also provide the soundtrack for it.

The final product was Real 2 Reel, the film's eponymous musical companion, the cast list to which reads like a who's who of rock music from the past four decades. Collaborators here range from old-timers such as Stevie Nicks and Sir Paul McCartney to young(er) bucks such as Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor or Nirvana low-end man Chris Novoselic. Curiously, most of these guests show up on vocals, with instrumental duties being left to a team of trusted session musicians, led by Grohl and Nirvana secret weapon Pat Smear.

With a lineup like this, listeners would be well within their right to expect a slab of noisy, visceral rock'n'roll - that is, unless they remember Grohl sold out years ago, Novoselic went on to form the rather mellow Eyes Adrift, and none of these musicians is much younger than forty. Otherwise, the prevalent sound on Real 2 Reel - which makes predictably frequent allusions to Eyes Adrift and the lighter side of the Foo Fighters - may come as a disappointment. While a heavy, Melvinesque guitar does surface here and there during the course of these eleven tracks, this album is far from the unbridled aggression of Nirvana, the Nine Inch Nails, or Fear. Age has caught up to these musicians, and it shows.

However, mellowness is, surprisingly enough, the least of Real 2 Reel's troubles. With apologies for pilfering AllMusic's spot-on review, this album sounds like what it is: a bunch of old musicians jamming in a studio. Most of the songs on here sound like an extended, particularly self-indulgent jam session, taking a decent concept and stretching it to absurd lengths until every ounce of interest has been sapped from it. Tracks like the funky Cut Me Some Slack or If I Were Me do contain some good ideas, and almost manage to constitute good songs, but listening to Josh Homme ramble semi-coherently about bugs for what seems like half an hour is nobody's idea of a pleasant listening experience - at least not when said listener is not under the influence of drugs.

That is not to say, however, that a couple of moments on Real 2 Reel do not hit their mark. The Springfield-led The Man That Never Was is a blast of gushing, unabashed rock'n'roll, while Lee Ving's Your Wife Is Calling mixes a sludgy Nirvana riff with hilarious spoken-word drunken ramblings, resulting in an aural cross between the Melvins and any given Jello Biafra project. The trippy, Beatlesque Time Slowing Down - sung by Chris Goss backed by Rage Against The Machine's rhythm section - completes the trio of interesting moments on Real 2 Reel, and give it a shred of worth for fans of the big names involved here.

At the end of the day, however, this companion piece to Dave Grohl's documentary cannot be considered a good album. None of the tracks contained within can be considered bad per se - well, apart from maybe Centipede - but most of them are excruciatingly boring, and even the standouts cannot measure up to what these musicians are capable of. Most importantly, for an album which purports to be a passionate tribute to a relevant recording studio, by artists to whom it holds a significant amount of meaning, it is surprisingly lacking in a key element: heart. In fact, listening to the eleven tracks contained on here, one's main thought is that, if this is all the emotion this star-studded group could muster, they must not have liked that studio all that much.

Recommended Tracks
Time Slowing Down
The Man That Never Was
Your Wife Is Calling



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Chart.
3.3
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other reviews of this album
AaronBatt (3)
A fun trip through music history......

Alex Beebe (2.5)
While it’s nice to hear so many icons playing together on one album, that doesn't necessarily mean...


Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
March 29th 2013


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You know, I already made the page for this album under the soundtracks section lol.

Digging: Cathedrals - Cathedrals EP

ReturnToRock
March 29th 2013


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I went by the Sputnik menu, dude. I added nothing. So I guess they have two pages in the database.

RobbaqPL
March 29th 2013


160 Comments


Great review as always. Much as I love Grohl, I kinda expected this album to be so-so. Don't know if I'm actually gonna bother to check it out.

ReturnToRock
March 29th 2013


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's a definite pass, unless (and maybe even if) you liked Eyes Adrift and can take a dollop of self-indulgence in your music.

StallionMang
March 29th 2013


5608 Comments


Whoa, haven't checked this out yet, but I expected this album to be the greatest thing the world of alternative music has ever SEEN! What's with all the negativity?

Digging: The Antlers - In the Attic of the Universe

CaptainDooRight
March 29th 2013


29131 Comments


solid read, pos'd

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

NorwichScene
March 29th 2013


1429 Comments


Agreed. Pretty average album

Digging: Lonely the Brave - The Day's War

WhiteNoise
March 29th 2013


3147 Comments


"Grohl sold out years ago"

Stopped reading there...I can't stand the term 'selling out'. What does it even mean? God forbid a musician makes a living from his or her music.

ReturnToRock
March 29th 2013


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well, he's making music for soccer moms now. Kurt would be appalled.

WhiteNoise
March 29th 2013


3147 Comments


Yeah I know right, the soccer mums love 'white limo'

Ecnalzen
March 29th 2013


6531 Comments


I would probably listen to just about anything Grohl has done since Nirvana disbanded over actually listening to Nirvana itself.

ReturnToRock
March 29th 2013


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Probot and QOTSA are good, the dude's obviously still a rocker, so why's he on the radio playing sappy ballads? That's what I don't get about him.

taylormemer
March 29th 2013


4917 Comments


Alex, that entry will be deleted shortly because the soundtrack page is the single worst choice for which this could be placed.

breakingthefragile
March 29th 2013


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Why? It's a soundtrack album.

breakingthefragile
March 29th 2013


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I seriously don't know how you can possibly consider the soundtrack page "the single worst choice for which this could be placed" because this album accurately fits the description of what should be included on the soundtrack page: "This page is for all soundtracks that have various artists."

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2013


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haters. Some tracks on this are awesome. A Trick With No Sleeve is my favorite. Alain ftw.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Derkyle
May 21st 2013


185 Comments


The review isn't bad although it reads a little biased against Dave Grohl. The two tracks I've heard, Mantra and From Can to Can't, are pretty solid tracks.

13km
May 26th 2013


45 Comments


ReturnToRock, you should definitely try the new(est) Foo Fighters LP, "Wasting Light." It lacks the sappy ballads present in previous Foo Fighters releases.

Anyway, I haven't listened to this enough to rate it yet, but it seems to me that the Steve Nicks song, "You Can't Fix This" is the stand out track.

FiveLeavesLeft
October 3rd 2013


9838 Comments


Your 300th rev, holy shit



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