Sony BMG - 2005 - 87 minutes
To find the last example of such a major mainstream rock act splurging out on a double album, you would probably have to go back 15 years to Guns n' Roses' 'Use Your Illusion'. That album found a band in the ascendant, but also marked their high point before descending all too soon into acrimony and ultimate demise.
Which doesn't bode well for the Foo Fighters, a band in a similar position. Yet it can't be forgotten that the grunge craze that washed over Guns n' Roses' successes was led by a certain genre-defining band featuring Dave Grohl on drums.
Here, proceedings are more neatly divided than the sprawling '...Illusion', with one disc of loud, electric guitar-heavy rock and another of acoustic songs. A staccato guitar riff launches the title track 'In Your Honour'. The strumming is almost prog like in its insistence. 'No Way Back', which sounds a lot like the band's previous single 'My Hero', is even heavier.
'DOA', featuring a catchy melody despite the morbid lyrics, is among the highlights of a disc that tends not to stray too far from straight ahead mainstream rock, especially on tracks like 'End Over End', 'The Sign', and 'Free Me'. Unlike many albums, then, the lead single 'Best Of You' does actually give a good indication of what follows. One light moment is 'Resolve', a slight, wistful ballad that sounds like it was lifted from a Bon Jovi record and misfiled under hard rock.
Speaking of soft rock, the acoustic disc provides more variety and a measure of musical invention. Much of it is very down-tempo, and sees the focus shift from loud riffs to languishing lyrics, with instrumental additions like the piano and violin on 'Miracle' and harmonica on 'Another Round'.
Elsewhere it's clear there is only one instrument that matters -'What If I Do?' benefits from a jangly acoustic melody, 'On The Mend' has much creative plucking and 'Over And Out' sounds like a masterclass in slide guitar.
Much advance attention among the music media has focused on 'Friend Of A Friend', purportedly written during Grohl's time with Nirvana about his bandmates. Lines like “When he tells his best friends he thinks he drinks too much/no-one speaks...when he plays [guitar]/no-one speaks” creates an image of an untouchable genius that sounds tragic now, given Kurt Cobain's death.
Another aspect of ‘In Your Honour’ that must have many people thinking they are hearing things is the collaboration with fellow mega-seller Norah Jones, whose loungy MOR sound is, unfortunately for rock fans, perfectly replicated on 'Virginia Moon'.
Ultimately, 'In Your Honour' finds a band trying too hard to strike every musical note they can in a bid to please everyone. While it works well as an all-American rock album, its repetitive, conformist nature may prove its undoing as a world beater.
Tracklisting: Disc One: In Your Honour - No Way Back - Best Of You - DOA - Hell - The Last Song - Free Me - Resolve - The Deepest Blues Are Back - End Over End - The Sign.
Disc Two: Still - What If I Do? - Miracle - Another Round - Friend Of A Friend - Over And Out - On The Mend - Virginia Moon - Cold Day In The Sun - Razor.