Amid the mountain of commentary sure to come about how this new album from Dave Grohl & Friends absolutely rocks harder than anything they've done before, which seems to be said about each Foo Fighters album, let me point out the yin that makes that yang into a whole being.
Yes, "Wasting Light" is a frequently thunderous guitar assault, somehow massive and monstrous without ever breaking the pop-song mold. The screaming is still tuneful, and the torrential riffs serve simple but solid melodies. But what makes the grrrrrr so good this time around is what plays against it -- the remarkably soft, restrained harmonies on the chorus of the otherwise brutal "Bridge Burning," the drone and countermelodies of "These Days" (not a Jackson Browne cover, but you know, Browne might actually like this), the chorus of "Back and Forth" that props up a woozy dissonance with tambourine-shaking, power-pop catchiness.
Produced by Butch Vig (Nirvana) and featuring guests such as Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Husker Du's Bob Mould and the return of guitarist Pat Smear, "Wasting Light" spotlights a supergroup with serious muscle that shakes off the excesses of recent FF albums. The fact that the distorted, hellish "White Limo" is balanced by subtle New Wave fare like "A Matter of Time" (which could have aired on '80s FM between "Bad to the Bone" and "A Million Miles Away," despite Grohl's singing, "I hate to rewind") makes this album seem well-supplied and surprisingly balanced as it flattens you like a tank. I'm never been a big fan of this band, but this is good, hard-hitting stuff.