Foo Fighters “Wasting Light” (RCA)
With “Wasting Light,” Foo Fighters take an unexpected power surge and direct it at their fans — there might not be enough superlatives to describe a 17-year-old band operating at peak performance on its seventh album. Muscular, melodic and lean as a thoroughbred, “Wasting Light” is a vinyl-length reassertion of what great hard rock should be and a strangely reassuring consolidation of Dave Grohl's strengths — as a songwriter, a bandleader and a pied piper leading us all to a fist-pumping adolescent rock 'n' roll promised land.
Every song delivers something unexpected. Structurally speaking, the opening “Bridge Burning” is a marvel built with about seven hooks when two would get the job done, a fully seducing chorus and rich background vocals by — of all people — Fee Waybill of the Tubes. Just as impressively, “Rope” is built on prog-rock rhythms from Taylor Hawkins, sending the tight harmonies flying high, and the stunning “Dear Rosemary” plays like adrenalized British Invasion pop and features a duet with the legendary Bob Mould of Husker Du and Sugar.
“Wasting Light” feels fearless. Guitarist Pat Smear is back in the fold and sounding ferocious — the riffing on the magnificently thrashy dirtbag anthem “White Limo” alone could bring the punks and headbangers under one flag.
The amazing trick is that “Wasting Light” is defiantly old-school but sounds fresh and energized. Maybe it's the fact that Butch Vig is producing Grohl 20 years after “Nevermind” and Krist Novoselic is back playing bass on “I Should Have Known,” but “Wasting Light” feels like Grohl is finally fulfilling all of his post-Nirvana promise.
— George Lang