Dave Grohl has once again teamed up with the rest of FF and have delivered their seventh studio album and to be honest not too much has really changed. Did you really expect it would?

“Bridge Burning” opens the album in a manner that is not going to offend FF fans with classic FF stadium rock sound that sets the ball rolling in the right direction, with a strong vocal and simple instrumental holding the sound together. The lead single from the album “Rope” was a song that I really didn’t think too much of at first listen, I honestly thought, “OK so a very safe and uninteresting single and probably a dud album to follow” however the more that you listen to this song the more it gets stuck in your head in a Mary Poppins kinda way (yes I have had the recent misfortune of having this inflicted upon me). As usual with FF the vocal is the driving force of the song, at first listen it comes across as cheap and predictable, however it drags itself away from that feel over time with a distinctly maturity that the song possesses.

“Dear Rosemary” is the love-hate song from the album. It is the first move away from the standard FF sound however the vocal is grinding on my nerves just thinking about it. It fails to provide transitions that are original and fresh, you can see them coming from a mile off and I am not going to comment further as I can’t get over it as the song progresses. This cake needed some more time in the oven to get it right, cause it’s just not happening. “White Limo” quickly erases the memory of…..yeah already forgotten it, with a real grrr, big hair, schreechy punk song, which reminds me a little of an early Grinspoon. It’s a strong change of pace which fits in fine with the other songs around it and shows signs of diversity from a band which can be a little same same at times. It’s the first sign on the album of the band trying to do things a little differently this time around.

“Arlandria” possesses a strong chorus which is quite catchy and in a very FF fashion, Grohl backs off on the singing at times to remind you that there are other elements of the song, which can be very engaging and is difficult to listen past.

“These Days” is one of the strongest tracks on the album with great contrast between soft and hard sounds although it does come off as a little to Thirsty Merc-esc for my liking, which is by no means a compliment. The transitions in the song are a little cheesy and predictable however the song seems to overcome this. “Back and Forth” follows up with a really pop inspired sound while at the same time holding on tightly to their rock roots. The band seems to be following this common theme lately of the 60s/70s influences (the chorus if you’re wondering what planet I am on, or at least as 60s as FF will ever get) which I have noticed with The Strokes and Beady Eye among others. The Strokes seemed to achieve this a lot better than BE in terms of reinventing the wheel as something new (refer to Gratisfaction for more information). Probably not going to win the award of my favourite song of the week.

“A Matter of Time” takes us back to that classic Foo Rock sound that most fans would be very familiar with a very evident sneaky bass line through the verses which is quite un-Foo-like, as they have rarely allowed the rhythm guitar to take control of the song, but it doesn’t last long in the song unfortunately despite this it kinda pulls the album back in the right direction.

A darker side evolves through “Miss the Misery” which sees the return of a more dominant rhythm guitar influence which really has a strong bass flavour to it and a more instrumental sound to the song in general. I guess they know their audience and what works for them so why change it. The hero of the album (To steal a Master Chef-ism) has to be “I Should have Known” where Grohl challenges his vocal somewhat with a softer touch. “Walk” is by no means a bad song, we just never really understood each other and went our own ways.

I had a really hard time giving an account for this album as FF are a band that are quite set in their ways after seven albums over sixteen years, however the proof is in the pudding as they have ruled the rock world for much of this time and by reaching number 1 on the Brittish charts shows that rock is in  no way dead. Despite this, commercial success doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is the best. I always compare FF to QOTSA who beat them every time hands down due to their desire to avoid traditional song transitions which FF use a lot being a very vocal dominant band. In comparing the too I would argue “You say bigger’s better, but bigger is bigger” (Turning on the Screw, Eva Vulgaris). “This album will get some play in my rotation however Foo never seem to stay there for too long despite some good songs, there is not quite enough of a complete product here to maintain my attention.

ALBUM RATING: When on a road trip you gotta drive down some less scenic roads to get to your final destination, if you get what I mean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpqZT_56Ns