Concrete And Gold (Sony)
Terrible bands are easy: they stink out the room, the charts, the conversation. Their inability to even make minimum standards of quality gives listeners and critics an easy jumping off point – as in jumping away, fast.
Bad bands are much the same. You can see how they are so false or so poor at writing or playing or singing, and explaining it can come down to they’re just not that talented or able.
Which isn’t to say that those bands don’t sell or can’t sell. Oh, if only! But you can take on a superior tone and think, well the people buying them aren’t really that interested in music being done well, they just want their time filled.
The tricky ones though are the perfectly fine, very capable, nothing to really complain about bands. What are you to do with them?
They have songs which tap into areas you can’t object to per se, sing well, play well, mean well. They offer melodies that are solid without pushing into fabulous (or awful), put effort in, have quality friends who contribute.
You can listen to them and hear ‘70s classic rock with occasionally some minor surprise as well as original metal (from the days when it would just have been called hard rock). There might be nods to the Beatles and Cheap Trick for tunes, to Queen for pomp and flamboyance, and (lightly) to punk for a layer of aggression that isn’t satisfied by chunky chords.
Lyrically there are solidly forthright statements about love in general, life in general, maybe politics in general, touched up some times by personal moments that can be applied generally.
While taking their work seriously they don’t take themselves too seriously so pretension is rarely an issue. And often enough they’re just good people and surround themselves with good people so that good vibes are easily picked up whenever near.
So a new album arrives and it’s not bad, though the first single was hardly a great calling card. It’s not noticeably better than any earlier albums but nor is it worse. There are variations (say for example, a touch of Pink Floyd you’d not heard before, or a kind of LA groove) but not serious deviations, and maybe a touch more emphasis in some areas, a touch less in others.
One of those favourite friends is playing on a track, but you only know this because of the publicity rather than the playing; one of the songs takes a more direct line at some topical political angle, but not that pushy.
It’s all fine. No, really, it’s good in a kind of no-holes-to-poke-through way. It will do the job it promised. You will move on and if asked about it later will not be able to mount an argument against it.
Could you mount an argument for it? Ah, well.
SPOTIFY: Listen to Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold here
APPLE MUSIC: Listen to Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold here