Music Review - August 2023

by BTM

Tue, 08 August 2023

Music Review - august 2023


Verdict: An emotional, cathartic release from the rock titans.

What’s the story? 
The 11th Foo Fighters album is undoubtedly the band’s most emotional yet. Longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins unexpectedly died in March 2022 and in the aftermath, the band cancelled everything planned for the rest of the year, largely going quiet and leaving its future uncertain. In December 2022, a statement was released confirming that Foo Fighters would continue, but that they were “going to be a different band going forward.” Frontman Dave Grohl performed the drums on the album, his first drumming credit on a Foo Fighters studio album since 1997. Lyrically, the album explores Grohl coming to terms with not only Hawkins’ death, but his mother, Virginia, who also died in 2022.

Worth a listen? 
Back in 1994, Grohl created the first Foo Fighters album while he was mourning the death of Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain, the first move in a career comprised of constant motion. Grief wasn’t central to that album, but it certainly is the case on But Here We Are. Loss and sorrow flow through the album’s imagery, culminating in the cascading closer ‘Rest,’ whose refrain of “you can rest now/you will be safe now” is easy to interpret as a message to Hawkins. Grohl doesn’t dwell in the darkness; he faces his bereavement directly, with as clear an eye as he can muster. The candour in the lyrics is matched by the immediacy of the music.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Council Skies

Underneath its handsome veneer, Council Skies demonstrates that former Oasis member Noel Gallagher learned some tricks during his time wandering in the psychedelic wilderness, figuring out how to add enough colour and texture to his arrangements so they don’t seem cautious or stuffy. It’s a subtle difference but an important one, letting the songs on Council Skies breathe without drifting into the distance. The change is evident from the start, when the strummed acoustic guitars at the core of ‘I’m Not Giving Up Tonight’ get decorated with a delicate piano that provides a bed for strings and vocals that come in by the chorus.

Niall Horan
The Show

Three years and a pandemic between releases, Niall Horan turns the heartbreak around on his vibrant, matured The Show. His third full-length, the quick ten-track burst finds the former One Directioner in a period of positive growth, leaving his twenties behind and grounding himself in a more comfortable space where he can play with genres and have some fun. With each subsequent album, Horan just gets better and better. The Show is his most immediate and engaging set to date, endlessly listenable and full of heart and charm. 

Queens of the Stone Age
In Times New Roman...

QOTSA’s latest release is steered toward their essence, laying down a foundation of gnarled, greasy guitars that allow the band either to soar to the horizons or plummet to earthy depths. While the thick, churning grind may feel familiar, it never seems staid, not when the band relies on clouds of vocal harmonies to push them onto a psychedelic astral plane, a shift that can amount to the subtle colourings of ‘Time & Place’ or be as startling as the chorus of ‘Emotion Sickness.’