Foo Fighters
The Colour and the Shape


Much like the Door's John Densmore, it will be a while before Dave Grohl sheds the honor/albatross of being the drummer for the late, great Nirvana and achieves solo distinction for his own talents as an artist. 1995's eponymously titled "Foo Fighters" helped a lot; the album generated three singles, a platinum sales award, and enought enthusiasm to make the band's tour a surprise success. So with any luck, "The Colour and the Shape" will finish what its predecessor started. Namely, freeing Grohl and company (fellow Foo Fighter Pat Smear, who left the band in a well-publicized last gig at the 97 MTV Video Music Awards, was also a brief presence in Nirvana) from the shadow of Kurt Cobain.

Much of "Colour" finds Grohl returning to his hard core roots, a move that, given his experience with the D.C. band Scream, should surprise no one. Where "Foo Fighters" was mostly a collection of mid-tempo, pop-throught-a-fuzz-box numbers, "Colour" features songs with a decidely faster and more aggressive bent. Sure, tracks like "Monkey Wrench" have a fair amount of pop icing on them, but there are enough super-charged riffs and screaming choruses—like the two bar rant Grohl delivers in the middle of the song, where he roars that "I never wanted any more than I could fit into my head I still remember every single word you said and all the shit that somehow came along with it"—to satisfy most fans of Fugazi or Minor Threat. The same holds true for "My Poor Brain", which alternates between an almost comically gentle rhythm and a blast furnace chorus. Enough Space goes even further, ditching the niceties in favor of what Ministry frontman Al Jourgenson would probably call, with approval, pure freakin' aggro; it's two and a half minutes of Grohl at his loosest and craziest.

As impressive as these hard tracks are, it's the softer, melancholy numbers near the end which come as the album's true surprise. "February Stars", "Everlong", and "Walking After You" sound natural enough through Grohl's vocal chords, but coming as they do after nine songs of pure energy, one is left with the impression that the chief Foo Fighter wants to separate the different sides of his musical personality, rather than blend them into a unified whole. Of course, if this separation keeps yielding beautiful trance-out epics like "Walking After You", the effort is damn well worth it. There is indeed life after Nirvana.

Jeff Mahoney

Chris wanted to review this record, too, but Jeff beat him to it. Chris decided to review it anyway:

I haven't heard the Foo's first disc, but after weeks of "Monkey Wrench" and "Everlong" running through my head thanks to minimal exposure from MTV, I had to give this disc a listen. And it was about what I expected: pretty loud and very catchy with a few rough spots here and there.

Produced by Gil Norton (of Pixies fame), the disc has a sound similar to the Pixies at their best; the guitars crunch, the bass adds a low rumble that isn't too sharp or too muddy, and the acoustics of the drums give you a good live-in-the-studio feel. This fits the Foo Fighters music perfectly; in many ways they are the Pixies with a normal singer and a pop sensibility.

In addition to the two singles mentioned above, "Enough Space" is a guaranteed MTV hit if they ever make a single out of it; "My Hero" and "My Poor Brain" also have hit-making potential. The rest of the album is solid and eminently listenable, but not spectacular. A good record to put on when you have a long drive ahead of you.

Chris Pace

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