THE Foo Fighters long ago became a meat-and-potatoes rock band.
Reliable and safe, without ever being overly captivating. Led by the nicest guy in modern rock, Dave Grohl, they've steadily moulded themselves in a stadium-sized band in an era increasingly devoid of megastars bearing guitars.
At the heart of the Foo Fighters' appeal has been the bromance between Grohl and his best friend and drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Understandably Hawkins' shock death in March 2022 in a Bogota hotel room came as a crushing blow. Grief only became more acute several months later when Grohl lost his 84-year-old mother Virginia.
Naturally loss permeates every corner of The Foo Fighters' 11th album But Here We Are.
Much like AC/DC's triumphant Back In Black in the face of losing original frontman Bon Scott, But Here We Are sees Grohl channel his grief into undoubtedly the band's finest album since 2005's In Your Honor.
And like Back In Black, Foo Fighters deal with their grief with a stiff upper lip and by doubling down on their stadium rock instincts.
On the cascading opener Rescued, Grohl growls, "It came in a flash/ It came out of nowhere/ It happened so fast/ And then it was over," to set the agenda.
Under You and The Glass regurgitate familiar Foo Fighters dynamics, which tire quickly.
Where But Here We Are shines in the second half of the record.
On Show Me How, a touching tribute to his mother, Grohl sings, "I'll take care of everything from now on". The sentiment is only deepened by the vocal appearance of Grohl's 17-year-old daughter Violet.
The 10-minute prog-rock effort The Teacher is the album's crowning moment as Grohl faces up to the band's future without Hawkins.
"Try and make good with the air that's left/ Counting every minute, living breath by breath," Grohl sings.
The Teacher builds into a rolling blast of rock leaving Grohl to scream "goodbye."
The Foo Fighters are forever changed by the death of Hawkins. Yet But Here We Are proves the band have ample reasons to still exist.