When he gets his next Foo Fighters sabbatical, and also decides not to take any calls and emails about being a drummer-for-hire, Dave Grohl should really think about writing a self-help book. Seriously, the guy has the secret to eternal youth. It's now 16 (!) summers since he released the Foo Fighters' debut, and yet Grohl still sounds and looks like the boy wonder, wanting it just as much as he did when 'This Is a Call' dropped jaws in 1995. He doesn't do jaded, and to spend time with the aptly titled 'Wasting Light' is to realise that there's no excuse for us either.
This is a record that brings together plenty from Grohl's - and his fans' - past. Later days Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear is now back full time in the Foo Fighters, and with three guitarists the riffage is colossal. The man recording it is 'Nevermind' producer Butch Vig. Making a guest appearance on bass on the excellent, aching ballad 'I Should Have Known' is Smear and Grohl's former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic. There's also a duet with major Grohl influence Bob Mould on 'Dear Rosemary', and Grohl has also piled up the memories in his lyrics. On the very first song, 'Bridge Burning', he makes reference to his schooling and roots in the DC hardcore scene through one of its most treasured bands and their standout song: "May I have this dance of days, locked in your embrace?"
If all this is coming across as being a bit of a mawkish nostalgia fest, don't worry; this is the Foo Fighters' best work since 2002's 'One by One' and sets them up brilliantly for the years to come. Whereas 2005's 'In Your Honor' was overblown, and 2007's 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' was good but not outstanding, 'Wasting Light' works the whole way through. The chemistry inside Grohl's garage studio is brilliant; many of the songs make 2009's Greatest Hits collection seem premature and the chance to hear the new stuff live can't come quick enough. Thinking about fitting into that favourite t-shirt again and a return to the moshpit will be part of the sing-along for older listeners, while younger ones and new arrivals get a lesson in how rock should be done - the magic of what music was and still can be.
In serving up as much hope as hooks, Grohl has captured one of the things in this world that there's just too little of: the joy of being alive - mistakes, triumphs and all. "I'm dancing on my grave, I'm running through the fire. Forever, whatever, I never want to die," he shouts on closer 'Walk'. On an album of great achievements, Grohl's biggest could be giving listeners a sense of immortality - and the comfort of knowing where they can go anytime they need a recharge.
Write that book, Dave, and show the rest of the world what it's missing.