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3.5 stars

Fear not Foo Fighters fans. Producer Greg Kurstin hasn’t turned their ninth album into metal Adele or Sia with grunt. It’s arguably their most musically interesting album in ages — that early reference point of being Motorhead’s Sgt Pepper’s was a good gauge. Make It Right is ’70s stoner rock with a huge chorus and a driving Malcolm Young riff with some Aerosmith swagger — and J. Timberlake’s la-la-la’s high in the mix. As with Pink and Adele, Kurstin makes the
harmonies, backing vocals and melodies really shine. La Dee Da is a strange, experimental beast — Grohl’s guttural wails plus sub-bass, space age guitar, glam rock flourishes and even saxophone. But damn if that isn’t a pounding, catchy chorus. All in a whisker over four minutes.

Dirty Water is a gentle acoustic lament with some dark clouds circling but by the three-minute mark it’s changed gears and the band’s new keyboardist Rami Jaffee is getting his time to shine. That’s Inara George on those tender harmonies — she’s in the duo The Bird and the Bee with one Greg Kurstin. Grohl is their most famous fanboy. Happy Ever After is a retro ballad that is Beatlesque to the extreme, complete with jaunty skiffle guitar and those harmonies. And if you’re going to sprinkle some Peppers on to proceedings go straight to the source — Paul McCartney is drumming on Sunday Rain. It manages to sound like all those classic rock
and pop songs Grohl plays in his other band Chevy Metal without becoming a pastiche — it’s done with love. The album’s most obvious radio track, the spot-the-influence ’80s rocker The Line, is hidden almost at the end. And the prog-rock, dirgey title track even has Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman on vocals — again Grohl a rockin’ troll to less open-minded fans./CAMERON ADAMS

Sounds like: Old dogs, Foo tricks.

In a word: deep.

Four more, y’all:

Time to purchase, Nigel:






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