When it was learned the Foo Fighters had turned to a polished pop producer for their next album, you could be forgiven for fearing the band was shedding their hard-charging skin.
After listening to "Concrete and Gold," it's clear that's a bunch of fooey.
Greg Kurstin, a member of the indie-pop duo the Bird and the Bee who produced Adele's "Hello," has pushed the band into some harder places over these 11 tracks. The Foos can't stop rocking, even despite an uncredited appearance by Justin Timberlake.
Take the outstanding "Run," which starts with smoldering chords and soft vocals before building into an apex of thrash metal with Grohl impressively reaching deep into his throat, only to repeat the sonic cycle again — and again. This is thrilling, heroic rock, and even harder than the blistering, Grammy-winning single "White Limo" from 2011.
"Make It Right" finds the Foos doing their best '70s stomping rock impersonation and it goes down well (listen closely and you'll hear JT offer background harmonizing.) "La Dee Da" is a jolt of glam rock with distorted vocals and nihilistic lyrics. "Dirty Water" is a shimmering, blissed-out slice of '60s-inspired alt-rock with an assist from the Bird and the Bee's Inara George that morphs into a head-banger.
We shouldn't have worried about a total pop sound: With the Foos, you simply can't get anything but full-throttle rock.