As I was casually browsing my Facebook feed, I was thinking about how I’d not bought any new music lately and thusly didn’t have subject matter for the “Applause” section. That’s when this album pretty much fell into my virtual lap. A Facebook friend had posted a link to the site, SaintCeciliaEP.com, and being a long time Foo Fighters fan, I checked it out immediately. I didn’t know ahead of time the Foo Fighters planned to release this, but apparently nobody did.
The price is certainly right. On the website, you’re given a choice of streaming the album, downloading it, or getting it on iTunes or Spotify… all free. If you’re a turntable geek like me, you can also pre-order the EP for $10.99. After shipping and tax, it ended up being about twenty bucks, but well worth it as the Foo Fighters sound awesome on vinyl. By the way, the digital download is available in MP3, WAV, or FLAC.
This collection of five songs seem like a continuation of the previous album, but more playful overall. The first track “Saint Cecilia” would fit very comfortably on Sonic Highways. It has a classic Foo Fighters sound, starting with just one guitar and Dave Grohl’s voice, and building into a strong, medium-tempo rock song. “Sean” has a quicker beat and feels more like a really tight band jamming out on an old standard than a group of musicians laying out a tracked recording, which is a good thing. The riff is fantastic. Next is “Savior Breath”, which is a play on words (get it?). It’s the heaviest rocker of the bunch, with vocal reminiscent of “White Limo” and guitars that sound like they came from an early ‘8os metal band. “Iron Rooster” is the “break”, a downtempo piece with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies echoing early Journey or Boston. Tying that mood together is a nicely harmonized guitar lead, also out of the ’70s.
“The Neverending Sigh” is the payoff. The whole EP is good, but this one is absolutely the best song of the bunch by a long shot. Slow and haunting guitar tones hover for a while and after about twenty-five seconds are joined by a solid riff from a single guitar. Over the next ten seconds, the rest of the band works into the mix, and they’re all going full-bore by thirty-five seconds. It has the effect of the beginning of a concert, and the song could very well work as an opening number, but it really does fit best as the last track on this EP. It delivers on the old saying “leave ’em wanting more.”
I’ve read a couple of articles incorrectly labeling this is a “b sides” or “outtakes” release. It’s not. The songs were recorded at the Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas in the same fashion as the previous album was recorded, in rooms that were never meant to serve as a recording studio among an open mix of people coming and going. According to the note from Dave Grohl on the Foo Fighters website, Saint Cecilia is the patroness saint of music; fitting.
Also sort-of announced on the website is that the band will be taking an indefinite hiatus:
So tonight, as I sit in my Berlin hotel room on our final tour for this album, counting down the days until we return home, I can’t help but wonder when we will see each other again. Who knows? But, with everything Foo Fighter related, it will only be when it feels right. And that’s a feeling that’s easy to feel.
They’ll be back. I’m sure of it. Meanwhile, we have Saint Cecilia to tide us over.
Band image credit Foo Fighters promotion
Hotel sign image by Hotel Saint Cecilia management
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