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Thursday, June 9, 2005

TWICE AS NICE

Posted on Thu, Jun 9, 2005 at 4:00 AM

In Your Honor
Label: RCA
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: In Your Honor

Former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighter commandant Dave Grohl is one of the busiest men in show biz, and apparently he likes it that way. From heavy metal reunion projects like Probot to slamming sideman spots with Garbage and Queens of the Stone Age, the guy with goofiest grin in rock is perpetually restless. And that fidgety spirit is part of what makes Grohl such a great musician and drummer. In keeping with his gotta-go-gotta-go mind tussle, Grohl overturns Foo Fighters convention for In Your Honor. A double CD – one of seriously head-bashing electric rockers and another of Alice in Chains-style acoustic riffers – the songs go by in a pearly white flash.

The electric disc is almost glam-metal, many of its songs dropping similar melodies and moods, save the understated "Free Me" and country-tinged "Resolve." Foo Fighters blow it heavier and perhaps harder here than on past records, if that is possible, and the songs benefit from Grohl's 2003 stint with Josh Homme; their cohesiveness and streamlined, tuneful impact ratcheted up to the nth degree.

But for all the electric disc's groin-tightening power and melodic appeal, the acoustic disc shows Foo Fighters truly breaking free. Gentle, wraparound guitars and desolate piano lines fill the spellbinding "Still," while a country-and-western tint surrounds "What If I Do." A supple 3/4 cadence steers "Another Round," aided by wheezing pump organ and a McCartney-ish chorus. "Friend of a Friend" sounds like something Kurt Cobain could have written, while "Virginia Moon" pushes the opposite extreme with a pure bossa nova groove and delicate guitars. Usually a hyperactive and belligerent vocalist, Grohl sounds truly thoughtful and reflective in his new unplugged guise.

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