I'm sitting here on release day listening to the new disc for about the 5th time straight. The songs are getting ingrained now – like old shoes; getting more comfortable every time you wear them. Some might worry hey it's not been long since they did an album. That's true – Skin & Bones was just last year, but it was a live acoustic disc from the tours they did for 2005's In Your Honor based largely on the 2nd cd theme.
So whats really new here? Well the magic part of this album for Foo fans is it has a feel to it that kinda wraps up that recent acoustic feel and all the stuff the guys have learned and loved, and puts in some truly wicked new rock numbers along with a massively laid back feel throughout. None of the tracks seem stressed, the feel is smooth, thoughtful and intelligent. A band that like really fine bands can grow and do new stuff, but at the same time always learn new ways to have old fans go oh hell yeah, while also make new fans go oh yes thats pretty damn good I like that.
I cant ever admit not to being a very biased Foos fan. I've collected pretty much everything they have ever done – down to super rare stuff like Dave's original Pocketwatch cassette. So on the other side I've pretty much heard it all and have a reasonably good right to be able to make a comparison of this release to what has gone before. It has some solid hard rock, but not as much as many might like, “The Pretender” heads down the well proven Foos road, it's a great rock song, but shows too a difference from past songs, and it is that difference that shines on this release.
Gil Norton produced the album, having just also done some work with the Foos on the re-release of Color and the Shape for the 10th anniversary release of that cd which he produced in 1997. Anyone expecting 10 years to go by and there be no changes is never going to be happy. But this is a band that more than any Ive ever known has grown. Maybe, just maybe if Id been young enough to follow all the Rolling Stones releases from the start I could say they were the same – the ability to keep doing new things, but keep tying up lose ends and delivering packages that just seem so complete.
And that's the key here with this release – its old and new – some truly great Foo rock, mixed with some amazing acoustic based tracks. But they don't have that experimental feel any more; this is very very refined, and feels very right. Emotive, seemingly raw, and yet incredibly intelligently produced. That's Gil Norton's work – as he did ten years ago – letting the artist be who they are, and yet making that essence shine. The difference now is that this is not an up and coming band – it's like a fine wine – getting better with age, showing different flavours and making the person on the other end savour every drop.
Yes I am biased, so let the proof be in the listening. Time will tell where this release sits in the Foos lineup. Personally on day one Ive never felt this at home with any album ever, and my cd collection alone numbers 800+. If you were thinking of getting this then I say definitely do it. If you like the single, then find someone with the album and listen to it, Id put money on you wanting to buy it once you have. This will be one of, if not the best album of 2007.