Imagine the scene, the drummer of an established rock act heads off to find solo success, and succeeds…that story ring any bells? The question that must be plaguing Foo Fighters drummer turned front man Taylor Hawkins throughout the press events for his second solo effort Red Light Fever is: Do we have a new phoenix from the embers story on our hands? Well, unfortunately for Hawkins, lightening isn’t known to strike in the same place twice.
As well as jumping into the lead singer boots, Hawkins also serves as the bands drummer whilst enlisting the help of Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, The Cars’ Elliot Easton and fellow fighter of the Foo Dave Grohl to perform on selected tracks. But it seems that pursuing a solo career may not be the objective with his rock and roll side project, perhaps the attraction was simply the chance to stretch his musical wings. Even the bands name, The Coattail Riders, screams tongue in cheek, a sort of forewarning not to take them all too seriously.
Which is probably for the best, because despite some added perks it seems that not even rock and roll royalty lending a hand can salvage Red Light Fever, a record that ultimately is pretty forgettable. Whilst recording the follow up to their 2004 debut album, Hawkins came to the resolution that if their new material sounded a bit self indulgent, then so be it, “I don’t care if the record ends up sounding like me having sex with my record collection. I’m just going to have fun with it,” said the Foo drummer. Well at least someone’s having fun…
From the falsetto pitched vocals of opening track No Bad Luck reminiscent of Freddie Mercury right down to the numerous conveyor belt guitar riffs and solo’s, the overall effect is not only quite decadent, but also pretty tame. There’s nothing wrong with Red Light Fever, tracks like Way Down sport some classic rock sounds whilst It’s Over features some interesting drumming from one of the worlds most acclaimed percussionist, but that said, there’s nothing spectacularly right about the album either. Sounding more like a collection of the more unmemorable Foo Fighters tracks, Taylor Hawkins better hope he can ride that coattail a little longer.
Red Light Fever is in stores now.