Sound City: Real To Reel

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Dave Grohl's Sound City project will ring bells for fans of his other album outside of Foo Fighters under the name Probot. That too was built around an array of guest musicians and singers performing on each track with Grohl. The difference there was a doom and speed metal focus, whereas here it's more of a classic and stoner rock feel, created under more ambitious circumstances. Real To Reel is the soundtrack resulting from Grohl's 'Sound City' documentary movie which aimed to film the process of recording one last album at the famous Sound City Studios in Los Angeles before it was closed down. Every track features Grohl on drums, vocals, guitar, or a combination of those, plus a collection of guests, producing a lot of different styles, but somehow working well as a complete album. Just as with Probot, the sound of some songs seems to have been entirely driven by the lead guest. Shake My Blood on that album for instance was lead by Lemmy Kilmister, and couldn't be mistaken for anything but Motörhead. Here that's the case with the brilliant From Can To Can't, which features Corey Taylor on vocals and sounds entirely like Stone Sour. It's also the case with the album's weak link, Your Wife Is Calling, fronted by punk rocker Lee Ving of Fear (and original vocalist on Dave Mustaine's MD.45 project before Mustaine wisely re-recorded the vocals himself). But on several other tracks something entirely new has been created. Take for example the surprisingly heavy Cut Me Some Slack, featuring Paul McCartney fronting all three remaining members of Nirvana, which recalls flashes of Helter Skelter and Come Together, Trick With No Sleeve (one of several tracks with Queens of The Stone Age front-man Josh Homme) which sounds like Soundgarden-meets-King's X - although some people may find it most readily recalls the short-lived Slave To The System - or Centipede (another with Homme) with it's Mastodon-like soft first half and explosive second half. Elsewhere If I Were Me is one of just two where Grohl handles lead vocals himself, and it would sound like a Foo Fighters ballad were it a purely acoustic guitar-driven song, but with The Wallflowers keyboard player Rami Jaffee and violinist Jessy Greene it becomes something much more delicate and Weller-ish, while The Man That Never Was and You Can't Fix This suitably heavy up the otherwise trademark sounds of Rick Springfield and Stevie Nicks respectively. There's far more interesting stuff on this disc than there really has any right to be, and with just one weak song among them, the fact that so many names are involved hasn't damaged the continuity of sound at all.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Albums, Hard/Heavy Rock, Quick.Play Reviews,

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