Foo Fighters: No Win, No Loss

Foo Fighters - There Is Nothing Left To Lose
(RCA Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)

Story by Tony Bonyata

From the crashing rhythm and squalling guitars that opens up the Foo Fighter's third album There Is Nothing Left To Lose, it sounds as if leader Dave Grohl is digressing towards his former band Nirvana's grungy approach to rock music. Further listening beyond that first song, however, proves that Grohl, who went from drumming in the shadows behind Kurt Cobain to accomplished singer / songwriter / guitarist of the Foo Fighters, really has more in common with the Midwestern pop rock of Cheap Trick than any grunge-rockers that transcended on the world from the western land of flannel shirts and Starbucks in the early 90s.
Although falling short of expectations from their last strong album The Colour And The Shape, The Foos nonetheless deliver an album full of pleasing power-pop and well disguised ballads that somehow manage to allude the sappiness that so many other so-called alternative bands have a hard time hiding.
From the infectiousness of their first single "Learn To Fly" to the exhilarating rides the rhythm section provides on "Generator", with its Frampton-esque mouth guitar, "Breakout", with Grohl screaming in angst-ridden agony, and "Live-In Skin" the Foos provide a thrill seeking adventure for fans of stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth power-pop. On "Gimme Stitches" they spit out a tobacco-stained white-trash stomp, while Grohl later moans over the band's rich dynamics on "M.I.A."
Even pseudo-ballads like "Next Year", "Aurora" and "Ain't It The Life", with a twangy George Harrison sounding guitar, manage to avoid the obvious trappings (string sections, slow sentimental melodies and chicken-soup-for-the-soul tear jerking lyrics) that so many of today's bands covet. Instead the Foos deliver straight ahead, no-nonsense rock arrangements on these slower numbers, giving them the instant muscle of over-the-counter steroids.
Considering Grohl's meteoric, and seemingly effortless, rise as drummer of one of the nineties most influential bands to fronting his own extremely successful group, he seems, despite the album's title, like he has everything to lose. Although he really hasn't gained anything on this album, luckily Grohl and company haven't given up that much either.

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