The Colour and the Shape

CD Cover Foo Fighters

Review by Michael O'Donahue

45-second excerpt from "My Hero" (various formats)

Dave Grohl is an exceptionally talented man -- multi-talented, even. But though he may be one of the World's Best Drummers, as a singer/songwriter/guitarist/frontman, he's not exactly a one-in-a-million Pop Genius. He is, however, still several notches above average, and the Foo Fighters do modern FM rock better than just about anyone else currently taking up space on the airways.

Unfortunately, that's not saying much, and the band is hampered both by a lack of melodic inventiveness and Grohl's tendency to screech, instead of sing, a tune. The Colour and the Shape definitely has its moments -- "My Hero" and "Up in Arms" stick out, and "'Monkey Wrench" is one of my favourite singles of '97 -- but, as a whole, the album drags, with too many songs coming up filler.

The mathematically-precise Big Rock production work by Gil Norton (the Pixies, James) precludes a lot of the spirit and spontaneous charm of the all-Dave, more relaxed, self-recorded Foo Fighters debut CD. Those qualities served to buoy up the debut's lesser songs and make the winners absolutely shine, and it's those qualities that The Colour and the Shape lacks.

Spot them a little slack for a touch of sophomore jinx, and hope for more from the third album (though it will not include the inimitable talents of Pat Smear, an essential visual element to the band's live show, who bolted recently after contributing the album's best guitar bits). I'll still be waiting: The Colour and the Shape is pretty good, but it's not what I'm sure the Foo Fighters are capable of.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on November 9, 1997

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