Grunge veterans the Foo Fighters are channelling their inner Rick Astley with a bold new record the American rockers describe as their “weirdest” yet.
While their DNA is rooted in the Seattle grunge scene of the early nineties, the band told AFP that turning to British pop diva Adele’s award-winning producer Greg Kurstin for their ninth studio album, “Concrete and Gold”, brought a fresh dimension to their sound.
In an interview before headlining the Summer Sonic festival in Tokyo — where they invited Astley on stage for an improbable mash-up of the eighties pin-up’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett said:
“People think it’s a really weird choice for us to work with a pop producer but it made perfect sense. There’s so much more to Greg and his love of music and knowledge base than just the pop stuff.” Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer, chose him to replicate the alchemy he has with Adele, this time with a gnarly rock band.
“We weren’t getting Greg for Adele’s sound,” said keyboardist Rami Jaffee, previously a fan of Kurstin’s indie synthpop duo The Bird and the Bee.
“The Greg we had in the studio was definitely the more adventurous soundscape guy he brought more of that stuff,” he added.
“I thought: ‘Oh boy, we’re getting weird quick!’ This record we really took extra leaps and bounds, sonically.”
Due out next month, the new Foo Fighters album combines thunderous guitar riffs with lush, harmonic textures.
Tracks such as “La Dee Da” and the Donald Trump-inspired single “Run” rock out, but the Foo Fighters shift gears on the dreamy “Dirty Water”, while the title track is a slow-burner that features Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman.
Beatles legend Paul McCartney also plays drums on one track among several other guest turns, including Alison Mosshart of The Kills.