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Foo Fighters – ‘Sonic Highways’ album review

Hitch a ride on this soulful soundtrack for the rock giants’ twentieth birthday

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
By Freire Barnes |

A word of warning: you really need to amp up the Foo Fighters’ latest rock odyssey to fully appreciate it. They’ve marked their twentieth anniversary with an album that Dave Grohl describes as ‘a love letter to the history of American music’. But play it too quietly and you might miss the acoustic nuances amid the convoluted concept.

Each track on ‘Sonic Highways’ was written and recorded across eight cities – a mammoth journey through great American music scenes that was also filmed for an accompanying HBO documentary (recently screened on BBC4). Kicking off in Chicago, ‘Something from Nothing’ features Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and melds bluesey twangs with gritty punk and a ‘we don’t give a fuck’ attitude. Washington DC provides the backdrop to ‘Feast and the Famine’, with lines like ‘out of the basement and into the news’ finding Grohl in his element on home turf.

Grohl drew inspiration from the musical icons of each city before writing, granting a nostalgic maturity to a set of meteoric rock songs that pay homage to the musicians that came before him. This challenging approach has produced a process-heavy album that has to work hard to live up to its grand premise. But ‘Sonic Highways’ commands you to rock out, stadium-style, around your living room. Go on, you owe it to Grohl and his heroes.

What do you think of ‘Sonic Highways’? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

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