This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Gil Norton produced ‘The Colour and the Shape’. It seems appropriate then that he’s been called to duty for ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace’, their 6th studio sonic adventure. Surely it can be nothing but awesome, right? Come on Dave, prove us right!
#1. Kicking of with the first single to be taken from this LP, ‘The Pretender’, brimming with suppressed energy, takes its time before letting loose it’s hinted at power, waiting first to shift gears. ‘One x One’ is subtly stirred into the track, somewhat pleasingly and somewhat alarmingly. I’m gonna have to keep my ear on this, ever wary of FF falling into what I call The ‘Chili’s’ trap! You know, a tendency to make great music you just can’t enjoy having heard it all before on their previous outings. Fingers crossed then!
#2. ‘Let it Die’ has notably alluring lyrics that draw you into its percussion rescued, ‘One x One’ (yes again) resounding self. A closing highlight can be found in Dave getting a bit excited at the very end of the track, sharply shouting and screaming as he sometimes does.
#3. With only its ‘Chop Suey’ (System of a Down) intro to initially distract us from its forthcoming sneakily summoned ‘Marigold’ (Nirvana) sentiment, it’s a good job that ‘Erase Replace’ has its own energetically charged vibe. So far so good then!
#4. The epic emotion of the opening to ‘Long Road to Ruin’ makes you sit up and pay attention, fighting the urge to jump up and down as you do! Welcome to the United States of Rock ‘n’ Roll, each and every one of you! The track peaks with an all too tempting and outrageously outrageous guitar solo. Nice!
#5. ‘Come Alive’ lazily follows, allowing for balance and breath. Spending its first two minutes sounding like a flipside demo track before all the doubters are disproved with the drums interrupting the calm malaise. Then, after another lull, it escalates into the track we didn’t even dare to dream it ever could be! Yeah baby!!!
#6. The casual vocal delivery and seemingly hapless structure of ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’ are cleverly underpinned by a sly piece of guitar work that could easily go underappreciated. The pretentious solo will definitely go down better live than it does on record!
#7. With a title like ‘Cheer up Boys, Your Make up Is Running’, this track is surely a dig at all the goths, right? Whatever it’s about, the FF are having it on this track! Multi layered vocals are a nice touch to a track which, I feel, would be better suited at the end of the album.
#8. ‘Summers End’ is mediocre and is almost saved by its energy, but not quite. And there’s a strange ‘Summer Of ‘69’ sentiment that’s summoned throughout, just to make it that little bit more distressing!
#9. I’ll be amazed if this track ain’t got a certain Jack Black helping out. Sounding like Tea Party covering ‘Deliverances’’ ‘Duelling Banjos’ bit for our generation. ‘The Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners’ is a refreshing and enjoyable instrumental.
#10. ‘Statues’ is great, despite its unforgivable piano pauses that subtly transform this track into some kinda cheesy lounge track. A superb summer festival sing-along chorus is memorable until the ‘Maggie May’ echoing electric guitar kicks in and confuses all who hear it! Dave & co humbly claiming to be ordinary people is a nice touch though.
#11. ‘But Honestly’ sounds a lot like Zwans ‘Honestly’, honestly, and Zwans ‘Heartsong’ too! Some missed opportunities for backing vocals to add a bit of depth are noticeable up until the 2m30s mark when the song finally takes on a life all its own.
#12. Is ‘Home’ a slowed down ‘Breakout’? The piano lead does distract us from such a question but not from its likeable, timid and tempered Regina Spektor likeness.
#13. Bonus track ‘Once and for All (demo)’ is a real treat that sounds just like Dave & co covering the career of The Smashing Pumpkins in a single track. Awesome!
Following the same trusted formula as they always have is an easily forgiven thing considering the saving amount of diversity amidst the tracks. Orchestration, ebbing power and both lazy and exacting deliveries can all be found and relished here. Foo Fighters live to fight another day then.