Tuesday 1 June 2010

Taylor Hawkins Just Having Fun

Best known as the drummer of Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins is using their sabbatical to play with his own band Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders. They released their self-titled debut a few years ago which was the result of them having fun and jamming together. Now they release their second album 'Red Light Fever' that looks like a more serious attempt.

Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders - Red Light Fever (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Hawkins has proven to be a skilled drum player with the Foo Fighters where he has the difficult task of playing drums with Dave Grohl who I consider to be one of the best rock drummers around. And he's doing a good job at it. Now they have taken a break and Grohl is having fun with Them Crooked Vultures Hawkins is playing with his hobby band again. But it looks like he means serious business with it: he found heavy weight musicians Roger Taylor and Brian May to guest star on the album and also Dave Grohl is helping his band mate out. This time they have spent more time producing the album and it's promoted more heavily than their debut. They are even on a small tour and recently crossed the pond to play over here in Europe.

So does all the work pay off? Not really. Although you can hear where it's all coming from (Hawkins said it was like "me having sex with my record collection"): classic rock mixed with Foo Fighters and also not surprisingly Queen since he has always named them to be one of his major influences. But where the first album was a more spontaneous result of their jam sessions, this album is trying to go beyond that and causes it to sound more forced. Harmonies sometimes sound more like Alvin and The Chipmunks or Queen on speed (album opener 'Bad Luck'). Hawkins isn't a great singer but still has a pleasant voice to listen to. And then most of the songs sound like they aren't finished yet and are too full of ideas.

It isn't all that bad since the album has some good songs (album opener 'Bad Luck' and 'Your Shoes' for instance) as well. It all does sound like they had great fun at it but you never get the idea that it is supposed to be more than that. And of course Hawkins still put down some great drum grooves on the album (like in 'Never Enough') and with the help of those brilliant guests there's still much to enjoy. Especially fans of classic rock probably will have lots of fun listening to the record.

Hopefully they will display all that fun this Wednesday when I go to see them in the Melkweg and make the songs sound better live on stage.

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