|4/4. Recommended. Period.
3/4. Recommended for new music heads generally, and people who bring an interest to this album.
2/4. For fans only; less-than-recommended for others.
1/4. Avoid this album.
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace is a way-better-than-average mainstream rock record.
Criticism has hit the Foo Fighters’ latest from both sides; P4k says it’s not enough like The Colour and the Shape, while the AV Club complained “Dave Grohl and company fail to keep the surprises coming.” Both angles essentially discuss what the record isn’t, avoiding a face-on reckoning. In an atmosphere of such high and incompatible expectations, what’s a Foo to do?
A little something for everyone, including your muse. Radio rock, Dave’s songwriting interests, the band’s back catalog, and artistic progress all make their arguments on Echoes…, and it’s when they synthesize and coexist that the result seems to work, rather than they collide. For example, the contrast between rocker “The Pretender” and the mellow “Stranger Things Have Happened” strikes me better than the mostly-acoustic “But, Honestly” with its tacked-on punk ending.
I’ve tried to get past my own expectations as I’ve carried ESP&G around since it was released last week. To its great credit, nine of the 12 tracks have been stuck in my head for at least part of a day, and “Come Alive” and “Erase/Replace” have each had their own.
The lyrics’ subtle, amorphous, but mature spirituality have also struck me. “The Pretender” hides a radical existential self-affirmation within its FM-owning wrapping. “Erase/Replace” laments the breaking of a promise the singer held sacred. The singer’s “absence of faith” is felt openly and honestly in “Home,” while the darkness of “Come Alive” gives way to a breaking-in of the infinite life of the universe.
I keep hoping the Foos have another four-star album in them. Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace isn’t it. In the meantime, it’s a worthy addition to the discography (reviewed below).
The Colour and the Shape
There Is Nothing Left To Lose
One By One
In Your Honor I
In Your Honor II (acoustic)
Skin and Bones