Sound — 8
Sometimes, the best things in life are free. Case in point, "Saint Cecilia," the new EP from Foo Fighters which the band are giving away absolutely gratis. Recorded over the course of two weekends at the Saint Cecilia hotel in Austin, Texas, the disc finds Grohl and co. keeping things fast, loose and off-the-cuff across a collection of tracks that range from McCartney-esque balladry to balls-out-rock.
"Saint Cecilia" is not, as many expected, a sequel to "Sonic Highways." But it is a definite spiritual successor. As with the aforementioned, this latest record has more of a down-and-dirty, ad hock vibe than past Foos albums. Its rapid conception and creation recalls both the legendary 12-hour sessions for the first Beatles album and the DIY ethics of the hardcore punk movement (comparisons which noted music buff Dave Grohl was likely aware of). The result is an EP is chock full of energy, with a warmth that is instantly infectious. It sounds refreshingly live, reminding you at every turn just how proficient and locked-in messrs Grohl, Mendel, Shifflet, Smear and Hawkins are.
Song wise, "Saint Cecilia" finds the Foo Fighters doing what they do best. The title track and "Sean" are anthemic rockers in the classic Foos style, while "Savior Breath" is a fuzzed out blast of lo-fi punk fuckery, replete with throat-scraping vocals and face-melting guitar leads. "Iron Rooster" takes things down a notch, with moments that recall Paul McCartney ballads and mellower Radiohead numbers in equal measure. Final track "The Neverending Sigh" is probably the record highlight. Heavy on riffery, replete with big on sing-along chorus, it's an appropriate reminder (as if any were needed) of why Dave Grohl's crew are still leading the charge when it comes to rock these days.
Lyrics — 8
The great thing about Dave Grohl as a lyricist is that he doesn't beat around the bush ("All My Life" being the notable exception, if you catch my drift...). His words are straightforwardly unpretentious, heartfelt and probably part of the reason that the band's music is so relatable to so many. Whether calling for salvation and healing on the title track...
"I got this feeling, I can't keep it down anymore
Bring me some healing
Saint Cecilia, carry me home to your house of broken bones."
...Or talking about love, acceptance and drunken truths on "Iron Rooster"...
"Have you ever been drunk enough to say what you wanted to say
Without no words getting in the way?
Have you ever been in love enough to be who you wanted to be?
I won't mind you if you don't mind me."
...Grohl's words have, as always, a near-universal resonance.
Overall Impression — 8
"Saint Cecilia" doesn't exactly see Foo Fighters re-inventing the wheel. But when the wheel works this well, why would they want to? The band's formula is a winner, and the strength, energy and heartfelt delivery of this latest record is evidence of that. Ultimately, this is another fine record from a band at the top of their game at a price that's hard to beat. What's not to like?