If I were to use a simile to describe the Foo Fighters, I would definitely exclaim that they’re like a fine wine. With the release of their sixth studio album Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace, the Foo is a band that just gets better with age. Produced by Gil Norton, the same man who produced the defining record of the Foo’s career (1996 The Colour And The Shape), Echoes is a hauntingly beautiful display of how good this band is.
Don’t let the opening track (also the first single), “The Pretender,” fool you, Echoes is not as rip-roaring as that track is. This is very recognizable on “Let It Die,” a song that repeatedly tip toes the line behind quiet and loud. The verses are paced by the gentle strumming of the guitar, while the bridge and ending feature Dave Grohl yelling his lungs out. And this particular song is what Echoes is in a nutshell. We still have the hard-hitting and fast-paced music that we all know and love about the Foo Fighters, but, overall, they show a mellow demeanor throughout the album.
But we should have seen this coming, especially with the past two releases from the band. The second disc of 2005’s In Your Honor and 2006’s live album Skin And Bones are strong indicators of what direction Grohl is taking his band in. While this may take a few fans aback, there is no need to worry as the Foo Fighters pull it off with style and grace.
“Long Road To Ruin” is reminiscent of “Times Like These,” as the tempo and vibe is very similar. Beauty and inspiration come together with “Come Alive,” which begins and carries on gently and poetically until midway through when Grohl, guitarist Chris Shiflett, bassist Nate Mendel and drummer Taylor Hawkins kick it up a notch, which results with numerous fist pumps from this reviewer. Another different style is showcased on the twangy “Summer’s End,” a heavily influence southern rock track that the Foo pull off well.
While “The Ballad Of Beaconsfield Miners” isn’t necessarily anything special as an instrumental, it is especially touching when you know of the background. Grohl wrote this after meeting with a survivor from the 2006 mine collapse in Beaconsfield, Tasmania, Australia, who, while trapped underground, asked for an iPod specifically loaded with all of the Foo Fighters material to keep him company. Grohl promised to record it, and proves to be a man of his word. Following this delicately plucked interlude is the dreamy “Statues,” which is paced by all sorts of different instrumentation.
“Home” closes out the album with Grohl on piano, softly singing while the keys hit emphatically in the verses. While some may view this as a very strange way to close out a Foo Fighters album, I think it’s very telling of what kind of band the Foo Fighters are today and closes out Echoes in pristine fashion.
Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace is the sum of all the previous styles the Foo Fighters have tried out on previous albums. It’s the album the band has always wanted to make, and with its variations in styles and moods, it is an essential album to pick up if you are Foo fan. Very few bands have as solid of a discography that the Foo Fighters have, and Echoes only adds to it. So take it all in, for the Foo Fighters have again shown that they always go down smooth.