FOO FIGHTERS / Medicine At Midnight

FOO FIGHTERS / Medicine At Midnight

Posted by Tim Finn on 19th Feb 2021

On their 10th studio album since 1995, Foo Fighters avoid the stasis that afflicts too many bands their age. That is: another heap of rehash. Instead, they deliver brighter, zestier moments of refreshment and reinvention and the band's song-craftiest album ever.

Medicine at Midnight” does not shed all of the Foos' signature alt-rock/post-grunge tools and traits. It is rife with the kinds of rock-infested dynamics and textures that perfectly set up the Foos' loud, aggressive and high-octane big-venue concerts. The 10 songs on “Medicine” are equally suited to be disgorged and detonated in similar environments.

This time, however, Dave Grohl and his mates infuse their rock chops with pop-inspired riffs, grooves, melodies and assorted, complementary embellishments (lush harmonies, background vocals, etc.). “Medicine” isn't a “dance” album, but it is likely to make you bob, sway or bounce along to it. And after a few listens, you'll be inclined to sing-along, too.

“Medicine” evokes the sounds and flavors of a swath of inspirations: heavy punchers like Metallica (“No Son of Mine”) and Queens of the Stone Age (“Holding Poison”) and various funk-metal bands (“Cloudspotter”). During the funkier, groovier moments, like the title track or “Cloudspotter,” Prince and sonic explorers like Beck (think his “Midnite Vultures” album) and David Bowie (his “Let's Dance” days) come to mind. The album's most explicit curveball, “Chasing Birds,” resembles a few of John Lennon's most mellifluous ballads (like “Julia” or “Woman”).

A few self-referential moments hearken back to the Foos' earliest days and formulas. “Waiting on a War,” which opens as an unplugged anthem dressed in acoustic guitars and strings, issues a melody and arrangement that arouses memories of songs like “This is a Call” – before it erupts into an arena-rock blizzard of electric guitars and percussion.

Foo Fighters initially intended “Medicine” to be released in 2020, part of the celebration of their 25th anniversary. Instead they delayed birth until this year, hoping the pandemic's pall would be lifted so they could take these songs out into the world and give them the in-person treatments they so deserve.

And that's a sentiment this record evokes as much as any: visceral anticipation – of the live shows, the medicine we've all been yearning for.