Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
RCA Records (9/25/07)
Hard rock / Alternative
Long gone are the days when Dave Grohl crafted quirky, catchy anthems like the ones on the Foo Fighters’ 1995 self-titled debut. Over the next 12 years, through sheer force of will and talent, Grohl turned from Nirvana drummer to frontman of one of the best hard rock bands on the scene today.
From its impressive body of work, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is bound to be the band’s most focused and mature effort to date. It’s as if Grohl knew that 2005’s In Your Honor was a little too bloated and overreaching, and so the band aimed to craft an album that attempted all the bombast and beauty of its two-disc predecessor and condense it to its basest form.
And that’s what the Foo Fighters do time and time again, with tracks like â€œThe Pretenderâ€, â€œLet It Dieâ€ and â€œErase/Replaceâ€â€”each of which is explosive in its hook-laden delivery. â€œThe Pretenderâ€ creates a false sense of security with a mellow, acoustic drone before drummer Taylor Hawkins destroys the moment and the band unleashes the intense guitar interplay. There’s a thick riff that Grohl pulls out mid-way through the song that’s destined to become a rock classic, which makes this song actually eclipse â€œBest of Youâ€ (off the Honor set) as one of the band’s hardest rocking anthems.
â€œLet It Dieâ€ attempts the same trick as the opener, but Grohl actually draws the melody out a lot longer, making for a much fuller experience.
The tempo builds with each verse of â€œErase/Replaceâ€ before the crescendo of the chorus acts as a release; a slow, deliberate delivery each time. In this case, the beauty comes in the bridges later in the song.
It’s not all hard rock. â€œLong Road to Ruinâ€ is a fantastic, catchy modern rock number, while â€œCome Aliveâ€ perfectly builds in its intensity, starting off as a haunting ballad before exploding into pure rock fury by the end. â€œSummer’s Endâ€ could find a home on a classic rock or Top 40 radio station, and then there’s the bluegrass-influenced instrumental, â€œBallad of the Beaconsfield Miners. The piano-driven â€œStatuesâ€, and the acoustic â€œStranger Things Have Happenedâ€ and â€œBut Honestlyâ€œ (two of the album’s strongest tracks) close out an impressive set. The hits, varied though they may be, just keep coming.
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is a slow-burn album; aside from â€œThe Pretenderâ€, â€œBut Honestlyâ€ and perhaps â€œErase/Replaceâ€, nothing immediately jumps up and grabs your attention. But after a spin or two, it’s clear that the Foo Fighters crafted a classic album. Everything is twice what it should be: the melody twice as haunting, the rock twice as bombastic. By the time the piano ballad â€œHomeâ€ pops up to close the set, you can’t help but shake your head at exactly what this album represents and want to immediately start it again. When all is said and done, this is bound to become â€œthe album” for the band.