Decisively intimate and open in their grief, Foo Fighters find themselves tackling a new era without choice. Doing so brings their music to a new level not yet seen by a band priding itself on headline sets and Dave Grohl’s broadly likeable public image. Under You, the second of three singles to head up their cleansing cover showcase, But Here We Are, rings with the same stunned inevitabilities which come from a band processing a loss. Pulp are doing the same with their live showcases on their reunion tour, taking old songs and presenting them with new meaning. To bring an album through grief is taxing but common, and Foo Fighters sound up to the task on this latest rock and ready track.
Who are the band under now? Under You begins to identify the next phase. Are they still under that same spell which guided them through their heyday or is it something else? It feels to be the latter as Dave Grohl and company toy with heavier hooks, a general brightness shining through which feels vague albeit with tender touches of walking on in search of someone no longer there. Yet it is easy to brush Under You and whatever else Foo Fighters come out with now as emotionally wrought tracks of grief which herald the death of their friend and bandmate Taylor Hawkins. His passing will dominate the immediate discussion and part of dividing that is up to the band. Yet beyond whatever potential meaning there is for this song is an undeniably beefy riff. It keeps Under You chugging along nicely.
Chug it does, the bitter memories and the brutal present provide a bright future for Foo Fighters. Grohl leans into the strength of his vocal range, as consistent as ever but buried ever-so-slightly under some weighty instrumentals elsewhere. Those drums still clatter through, screeching and grinding away, earning their spot and creating this listenable yet lovingly scattershot heaviness. Not quite a wall of sound but hard to cut through, an abruptness and a shove toward something darker. No surprises that is the case, reminiscent flows are expected and the ideal image of a fallen friend is thrown into the mix. There is no getting over spending so much time with someone, even with the cigarettes and chats remembered fondly by Grohl and the rest of the band.
Poised to deliver another emotionally trialled track, Under You is exactly that, a single which shows the band are in the throes of a grieving process. Music highlights the inner pangs of feeling and for Grohl, it is hard to see him do anything but this for the time being. Opening this up to a listener gives catchy interjections and a swift guitar solo end as the gang try and pull themselves out from under the rubble of Hawkins’ seismic passing. It has had its effect and cobbling the pieces together is all Under You can do. Thankfully it is as genuine a dedication as it is a quality rock track which rings of classic Foo Fighters, the inevitable big hitters of their past lingering around the edges of a song with weighty emotions and heartfelt tribute. One of many? Or just the one? Once the record is out, it will be clear which way Foo Fighters are headed.