x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dave Grohl has a real success with Sound City soundtrack

Dave Grohl's new album is an excellent tribute to good old-fashioned songwriting.

Sound City: Real to Reel is the soundtrack to Dave Grohl's documentary.  John Shearer / Invision / AP
Sound City: Real to Reel is the soundtrack to Dave Grohl's documentary. John Shearer / Invision / AP

Dave Grohl
Sound City: Real to Reel
(RCA)
****

As well as being known as the nicest man in rock, Dave Grohl now also holds the most hardworking crown.

After completing another global jaunt with The Foo Fighters, Grohl returned behind the kits for another Queens of the Stone Age album and then somehow managed to direct the documentary Sound City, about his favourite studio, and release this accompanying star-studded disc.

Like the film, the soundtrack Sound City: Real to Reel is an aural tribute to the California studio spawning numerous classic albums including Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and Nirvana's Nevermind.

Where the film derived its magic from Grohl's interviews with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Rick Springfield, the soundtrack's exuberance comes from the chemistry spawned when you get top-notch musicians jamming in the studio.

The link throughout the genre-hopping and generations of music personnel is Grohl himself, happy to act as band leader or supporting in the background on guitar and drums.

The sturdy opener Heaven and All sees Grohl team up with the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes.

The track may not be too different to BRMC's efforts, but its bluesy guitar assault sets the album's tone.

The follow up is the epic Time Slowing Down with Grohl joined by Chris Goss, Tim Commerford and the Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk.

Where the opener was all attitude, Goss and co focus more on the dymanic interplay which finds the track sway from mountainous riffs to more tender ethereal moments. It's a track intended for headphone consumption.

The really good stuff is in the album middle's section.

Stevie Nicks' haunting turn in You Can't Fix This is the album's highlight.

Meditating over a broken friendship, Nick's vocals are augmented by a warm bluesy backdrop not too similar to Fleetwood Mac.

Rick Springfield, of Jessie's Girl fame, proves he's one of rock's underrated artists.

His soaring vocal turn on The Man That Never saves what is a rather average Foo Fighters track.

And of course, there is the already much discussed Cut Me Some Slack, featuring a feral-sounding Paul McCartney, backed by Nirvana's surviving members Grohl and the bassist Kurt Novoselic.

It may be dubbed as a tribute to the studio, but Sound City: Real to Reel transcends the location. It's a tribute to the values the studio holds: good old-fashioned songwriting, a feature now synonymous with the name Dave Grohl.

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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