Words By: Gerrod Harris
Release Date: November 23rd, 2015 via Roswell Records
Weeks ago, a mysterious countdown appeared on the Foo Fighters’ website, leaving fans speculating anything from a tour announcement to a live album, or another season to Dave Grohl’s critically acclaimed documentary series, Sonic Highways. Instead the Saint Cecilia EP, a collection of five new tracks recorded while the band was in Austin, Texas following their Austin City Limits performance in October, was released. While this has been in the works since then, upon its release, Grohl has penned a letter to fans, giving closure to the Sonic Highways period, while also documenting highlights of their recent tour, his leg injury, and finally paying tribute to those affected by the horrible tragedy of the recent Paris terrorist attacks. You can read Grohl’s letter and download the Saint Cecilia EP here, for free.
“Saint Cecilia”: The opening track starts the EP off with a softer tone, resembling that of their earlier work. It’s not quite soft rock, but it’s not quite hard rock either, similar to “Learning To Fly”. It’s not a bad song; it’s good, but it doesn’t quite measure up to the rest of the Saint Cecilia EP.
“Sean”: Clocking in at just over two minutes, “Sean” is probably one of the shortest Foo Fighters’ songs ever. The verses are solid, but what stands out the most is the repeated instrumental sections, which act as a chorus. Driven by a killer guitar riff, pulsating cowbell, and big drum fills, this section is exceptional, but is unfortunately too short. If only they based the song around that guitar line, but nonetheless, it’s a great track.
“Saviour Breath”: This is a very hard hitting and edgy track filled with screeching vocals, power chords, and a shredding solo, almost as if the Foo Fighters were a 1970’s LA punk band. It’s clear that Grohl’s roots in the DC hard-core scene and guitarist Pat Smear’s origins in The Germs fueled the writing process, giving this song a very contagiously energetic feel. “Saviour Breath” is rough, with a slightly grainy texture in the production, further adding to the aggression.
“Iron Rooster”: A quasi ballad, “Iron Rooster” incorporates a slower tempo, piano, and acoustic guitar along with distortion and darker textures and changing time signatures to deliver a very unique twist, making for one of the band’s most developed slower numbers in a very long time. The use of different instrumentation allows for the song to shift from different moods and tones, adding a layer of depth to the song.
“The Never Ending Sigh”: With any Foo Fighters record, it is often difficult to pick one song which tops all the others, but I feel safe saying that “The Never Ending Sigh” does just that. Led in by a flurry of distorted guitars playing variations of a heavy riff, the song’s momentum builds through the fast paced verse and trades said busyness for a more spacious and powerful anthem of a chorus.
The Saint Cecilia EP is a great addition to the already rich discography of the Foo Fighters, and makes for a better surprise and a treat to their fans. A surprise Foo Fighters release certainly makes anything better! What it lacks in quantity, with the exception for the title track, the Saint Cecilia EP makes up for in the quality and variety found across its track listing. From the vintage punk vibe of “Saviour Breath” to the dark tones of “Iron Rooster”, and the spectacular lines spread between “Sean” and “The Never Ending Sigh”, The Saint Cecilia EP is an excellent gift to the fans who have made the Foo Fighters one of the biggest rock ‘n’ roll bands in the world, one that they will have on repeat for weeks to come.
1: Saint Cecilia
3: Saviour Breath
4: Iron Rooster
5: The Never Ending Sigh