|2007||Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace||Foo Fighters||★★★★½||89||Rock||Alternative Rock|
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, the sixth studio album by the Foo Fighters, is far and away the American rock band’s finest and most artistically diverse record.
The quality and energy of the singles here — “The Pretender,” “Long Road to Ruin” and “Let It Die” — can stand up to almost any of the classic rock singles the band had produced up to that point and got plenty of airplay at the time. But the softer moments, which in the past had been a little too basic or not as emotional as you’d hope, are the real standouts.
Coming off the softer second disc of 2005’s In Your Honor and the live acoustic release Skin and Bones in 2006, Dave Grohl and co. were able to hone their craft a bit and expand the band’s musical palette by introducing longer buildups, more stark volume contrasts, more intricate phrases with harmonies, guitar rounds and syncopations, and new sounds like backing violins, southern rock influenced guitar effects and more prominent piano parts.
The acoustic, dark “Stranger Things Have Happened” is probably the band’s best song since “Everlong.” “Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners” is a bouncy, playful guitar interlude. “Statue” and the closing track, “Home” are emotional and intimate songs that would feel a little out of place on any of the band’s previous records, but fit right in here.
Not only that, but for most of songs that end up loud and rocking the hardest — “Let It Die,” “Come Alive” and “But, Honestly” — the pay off is so much more rewarding because they start in a calmer spot with acoustic guitars before really building to their anthemic climax.
The Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl will never lyrically be the most innovative songwriters, and the band never strays too far from their alternative, 1990s rock roots. But Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is the closest they’ve ever come to breaking that mold, and in being a little more theatrical really showcases Grohl’s full potential as a generational frontman.