Foo Fighters
Concrete and Gold


4.0
excellent

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
September 15th, 2017 | 153 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The kings of playing it safe have a point to prove.

Consistently successful in the mainstream, but never ones to really ‘wow’ the average listener, Foo Fighters have always seemingly been comfortable in being satisfying without peeling away at the corners of their own comfort zone. Dave Grohl and co have a basic purpose that they fulfill, albeit extremely well. Nothing more, nothing less. Sounds harsh coming from someone who considers themselves a fan, huh"

Entering Concrete and Gold, you could be forgiven for expecting more of the same – solid songs with no sense of identity for the album they’re attached to. However, that’s not QUITE what’s on offer here. This isn’t by any means a risky album, but it hints strongly at a touch of playfulness, and a willingness to break out (geddit"!) from the Foo Fighters’ blueprint. It is still inescapably a Foos album, complete with trademark swagger and an almost world-weary lyrical and instrumental competence, but when the band give themselves permission to enjoy themselves a bit, Concrete and Gold comes to life. It should come as no surprise that The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Beach Boys are influences on this record, but when Grohl wears them so brazenly on his sleeve, its leaves a very charming flavour on the tongue. For example, even if Sir Paul McCartney wasn’t drumming on Taylor Hawkins-fronted ‘Sunday Rain’, the blues-y throwback vibe of the track would immediately make you think of him, and not by way of cheap parody: the Foos stand up as peers. Similarly, the Zeppelin-esque strut of ‘Make It Right’ is lovingly presented with just a little bit of self-referential cheese to make it a thoroughly enjoyable listen rather than just a well-played joke. Elsewhere, ‘Arrows’ takes a dirge-y QOTSA …Vulgaris era (someone stop me, I know) intro, meshes in some emotive Grohl bark-singing and a stomping groove to deeply satisfying effect, and folk-lite ‘Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)’ breaks the Foos mould in that it’s an acoustic ballad with real substance and atmosphere, despite the baffling decision to fade out during a gentle solo rather than let the track blossom. ‘Run’, ‘La Dee Dah’ and the aforementioned ‘Arrows’ carry a real bite and aggression akin to a more treble-happy Motörhead, giving the record just that little bit of snarl on top of the more psychedelic-inspired rock tracks. Surprisingly too, all three singles fit the running of the record perfectly, all standing stronger within context than they have as separate entities, and for the first time in a long time, Concrete and Gold represents a snapshot of where the band are at a given point in time, rather than the interchangeability of the material on previous efforts.

Ultimately, the band have produced a great album here by sprinkling just a little bit of their caution into a gale. A total re-invention at this point would seem crass and contrived, but there’s just about enough on offer here to show that the Foo Fighters of 2017 want to earn their success, rather than walk into it every 3 or 4 years. I don’t want to gush too much praise on a band taking themselves off auto-pilot, and for many listeners, it simply won’t cut it, as expectations can be understandably low when the previous output has been so… safe. However, when one grows an affection for a band, and they show an ability to surprise, it puts a golden shimmer on the often too concrete past of their discography. It may not have been the purpose, but never before has a Foos record made this writer more excited to hear the next one. Watch this space.



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Chart.
3.1
good
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Arcade STAFF (2.9)
Pretend there’s nothing wrong, you can sing along with me....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2017


1256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Number 40. Thank you again, everyone, for your patience.

Toondude10
September 15th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album is pretty solid, better than their last album for sure. But man they still can't use the guest spots correctly can they?

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2017


1256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah yeah, the ones that I would never have known were there were it not for the press releases!

Groundking
September 15th 2017


333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Agree with your last paragraph, it sounds like a band that's still hungry for more, rather than what happens a lot with bands that get huge and older like them where it's all just on auto-pilot creating no necessarily bad songs, but safe songs.



Plus the execution is really good.

Lucifer
September 15th 2017


85 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good review man.







I don't know if give to this a 3.5 or 4 lol.

NorwichScene
September 15th 2017


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Average at best

judgedeath2
September 15th 2017


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Welp, already two 4.0 reviews, guess I don't need to drop a third one. This is such an improvement over Sonic Higheays and much more fun to listen to.



Great review btw😌

BigPleb
September 15th 2017


51637 Comments


Laa De Daa, Dirty Water, Arrows, Run and Make It Right are all cool.

Rest ranges from meh - bad.

RadicalEd
September 15th 2017


8648 Comments


Can't wait until this has it's 2.9 average.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 15th 2017


25162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There is a staff review slated for this but until then, enjoy the spotlight :-)



This is an all-around excellent album. Haven't decided on a rating yet but it will most likely be either a 3.5 or 4, placing it in the range of top 3 FF albums for me personally.

Digging: Belle and Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems Pt. 1

Toondude10
September 15th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm assuming that staff review is going to be either you, Rowan, or Irving.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 15th 2017


25162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nope, believe it or not.

Toondude10
September 15th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

oh....well then...is it Arcade?

Ocean of Noise
September 15th 2017


9818 Comments


Wait, so this album is actually good...??? The Sky Is A Neighborhood is probably the worst song I've ever heard from these guys.

Digging: Orbital - The Middle of Nowhere

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2017


1256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why thankyou! Felt like I had to dial it back a bit because subjectively I love this but I know it's hinting at what they can do more than blowing me away!

BigPleb
September 15th 2017


51637 Comments


Agreed Ocean.

There's a few great tracks here tho still, Dirty Water being one of their best ballads.

MarsKid
September 15th 2017


5661 Comments


I'm one of the few that believe Sonic Highways isn't THAT bad so I suppose I'd like this

Toondude10
September 15th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I thought Sonic Highways was pretty good tbh.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2017


1256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't dig Sonic Highways but I don't think it was bad, I just enjoyed Wasting Light way more than expecting that for a follow-up.

TheMrAlexK
September 15th 2017


8917 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Aye nice review. Forgot this was dropping today



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