Foo Fighters | Wasting Light (Roswell/RCA)

The band made some changes with this record, most notably by recording it entirely on tape in Dave Grohl’s garage with legendary Nirvana producer Butch Vig.

 

 

 

Wasting Light opens like most of the Foo Fighters’ previous efforts—with a major bang. From the opening strings of “Bridge Burning,” you can tell that despite protests to the contrary, Dave Grohl and the gang aren’t deviating from the mold by much. It’s well documented that the band made some changes with this record, most notably by recording it entirely on tape in Dave Grohl’s garage with legendary Nirvana producer Butch Vig. In addition, they brought back guitarist Pat Smear and even secured guest appearances by Bob Mould and Krist Novoselic. As a result, Wasting Light is a large step in quality above the rest of their work from the past decade, but not enough of a step to be considered groundbreaking.

The band has claimed this is their heaviest album, and it absolutely is. As far as individual tracks go, nothing in the Foo Fighters’ catalog stands up to “White Limo,” an absolutely raucous jam session. The track gained notoriety before its release by being played at their live shows to much delight. Generally, the album is heavier than their previous work, and it works well with Grohl’s voice. The only issue is that due to the low-fi nature of the recording, it sounds muddy from time to time. This may be a positive for many people, but for me, it was a bit much. The mixing is especially noticeable when all three guitars are playing very different parts, such as on “Rope.” It’s not impossible to look past, but it is very noticeable out of good speakers, and therefore makes full volume an issue. When the mixing is perfect, such as on the standouts “Dear Rosemary” and “Arlandria,” Wasting Light is at its best.

The nicest thing that can be said about this album is that it refuses to fall victim to some of the cheesy and weaker tracks that previous Foo Fighters’ releases contain. Unlike the rest of their albums from this decade (nothing here is even close to as grating as “Best Of You”), Wasting Light is extremely solid and consistent throughout. Even songs like “I Should Have Known” and “These Days,” a standard jilted-lovers story, are constructed well. From that, they hearken back to the catchy choruses and melodies of the band’s first two albums. By the time “Walk” wraps up the album, it is evident that every track holds its own, and the skip button has been rendered irrelevant.

Wasting Light is definitely the best Foo Fighters’ album since The Color And The Shape; it isn’t even a close call. Dave Grohl is vocally a step ahead of the levels he had reached on previous records, and despite a few issues with feedback the guitar work is outstanding too. While Wasting Light isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about the band, it is certainly a step up in quality and consistency from their other recent releases. A- | Brett Berliner

RIYL: Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply