He's nothing if not ambitious, that Dave Grohl.
Having conquered the rock world – first ensuring Nirvana's place in music lore before moving on to Foo Fighters – and making quite a few friends along the way, the now 46-year-old musician was faced with another conundrum: what next?
Never one to rest on his laurels, Grohl embarked on an large-scale multimedia project for Foo Fighters' eighth album: record eight songs in famed recording studios of eight different American cities, film the journey and have both an audio and visual documentation of what he has called 'a love letter to American music history'.
The HBO TV series of the same name is worth watching, but stripping Sonic Highways down to its bare bones – i.e. the songs – it's another watertight Foo Fighters album. True, there may be few risks taken, and the band's adaptation of each city's sound on various tracks (blues/jazz = New Orleans, punk = Washington D.C., etc.) is a little too subtle in some cases.
Even so, tracks like the slack indie-rock of 'What Did I Do?/God as my Witness' are immediate earworms, while 'Something From Nothing' and 'The Feast and the Famine' come roaring out of the traps before building to the huge, euphoric choruses that Foo Fighters are so renowned for.
It would be wrong to call this album 'safe', because it's not; perhaps 'enjoyably solid' is more accurate. One thing's for sure, though: there are plenty of new anthems here to pack out the band's Slane setlist next summer.
3.5 OUT OF 5