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| 30 January 2015 | Reply

10 November 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Foo Fighters - Sonic Circus CD cover

By now most of us will have watched the parent TV series which spawned the Foos eighth album, and realised that it is nigh on impossible, once having done so, to appraise the one without the other.

By the very nature of these songs recording – each in a special studio in a different US city, the lyrics written at the last minute by Grohl, drawing on his interviews with musicians from that city’s scene and musical history – each song is enhanced by watching the corresponding episode, and seeing the back story which fuelled the meaning behind it.

Just as the album cover takes landmarks from each of these cities and constructs an imaginary pastiche city, complete with an 8 centrepiece (the infinity symbol, side on), the songs reference the cities they were born in, taking words from the likes of Steve Earle, Buddy Guy and Tony Joe White to create new stories.

With a TV show to produce, interviews to prepare and do and edit, research to organise, Grohl mostly keeps the focus of the music on track, though there are a a couple of tracks (Outside, In The Clear) which are perfectly fine, but would have benefited from a little boost.

At its best, Sonic Highways is a celebration – Something From Nothing, Feast And The Famine and Congregation are all great tracks with insightful lyrics. Some other songs are growers, needing a few listens to fully appreciate their subtleties – none more so than the epic I Am A River, one of the standouts here.

Sonic Highways is a massively ambitious project which works in spades – the TV program is an instant cult classic; the album one of the Foos best – from a guy who, we suspect, after the massive success of first Nirvana, then building his beloved new band to one of the biggest in the world, is looking to put some meaning into what the band does.

We can only hope for another series/album with more of the same.

Category: CD Reviews

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