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Foo Fighters – The Teacher Review

Titan-like tracks serve two purposes. One is to show the length at which a band can steady itself and how long for. Another is to see just how much an instrument can be stretched. Dave Grohl has steadied his storms both post-Nirvana and during Foo Fighters, his experience in both giving him the unhinged qualities needed to tackle a ten-minute rock track. Godspeed to the madman. The Teacher gives him and Foo Fighters a chance to work over a lengthy, slower-paced piece which demands the band wake themselves up. Shake away before, But Here We Are takes the listener by storm. Doing so with the speed and dexterity expected of the group by now, this final single is a strong turn for the band who find the here and the now not as one.  

Disconnect from the brain and place is a tough one to tackle but Grohl gets to grips with it enviously easily. Separate the soul and spirit, where they take his music, where it takes Foo Fighters in their latest track ahead of a first-time experience without drummer Taylor Hawkins, is permission for the band to look back on their work. Reflective and powerful blends on The Teacher make for a rock-and-ready powerhouse which has no trouble reaching back and looking at those formative years. Never feeling its length, The Teacher marches on with enviable hooks and well-considered quiet spots. It is needed not just to give the band a break from battering their instruments but because a listener will always need a second to process so many hooks and changes in flow. Foo Fighters know that, the listener knows that, and there the two meet nicely.  

Catch your breath as Grohl says halfway through this imagery-heavy track, the mellow, thicker grooves from the guitar work here hint at something primal. It is never directed to the front and centre although when was the last time Foo Fighters truly backed themselves into that corner to begin scratching at something dangerous? Something wild? The Teacher gets close enough. Reflecting way beyond Foo Fighters and cementing a fond farewell to those he lost along the way, The Teacher feels as close to a relatively personal Grohl track than anything else the group has pieced together. Power noise and heavy heapings of distortion throw scatterings of radio static at the listener right in those dying seconds.  

Those hazy feelings never fade and The Teacher does well to end on them. Even with the clarity present throughout the ten-minute powerhouse, it all revolves back to the lack of clarity, the fear of focusing and pushing through the static. Some days are impossible to move beyond and although that feeling is tough to mount and move from, The Teacher tells the tale of letting it overwhelm. It happens, and by happening, Foo Fighters make no mistake in showing the effect and shock of its return. Whining, groaning and writhing underneath all of that is a delicate collection of individual pieces, the percussion barely noticeable but on further listens such an integral piece, the strained and emotionally charged Grohl vocals push on through. It all pieces together nicely and brings about a strong stretch of form from Foo Fighters.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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