November 30, 2006

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Foo Fighters, Skin and Bones
RCA Records, 2006

It’s not entirely clear why Dave Grohl thought the music world needed to reprise the MTV Unplugged sounds of old, but here we are, ostensibly at least. It can’t be said that Skin and Bones plumbs the depths of pompous mawkishishness Nirvana and STP trawled back then (what were they looking for, anyway, the folkie vote?), and in fact he begins this set (a one-off recorded at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles) with a self-conscious “are you ready” before floating off on a fluffy cloud of arpeggios for “Razor.” Thankfully the song ends in a no-wave pileup of violin (from That Dog’s Petra Haden) and synth (from Wallflower Rami Jaffee) that makes like an old Emperor Penguin stunt while providing the X-popper chicks ample motivation to pull up their tee shirts and yadda yadda. The most revealing thing that occurs when loud singers go ampless is that we hear their core sound, thus when Grohl unadvisedly sticks with the song’s original yelled octave in “Best of You” you’d swear he’s Fee Waybill’s nephew. B- — Eric W. Saeger