REVIEW: Sound City – Real to Reel

Sound City: Real to ReelBy Sean Palmer
Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday, April 4, 2013


Sound City – Real to Reel soundtrack
Sound City – Real to Reel
Various (RCA records)


Dave Grohl’s interesting new documentary shows how a grungy, rundown Los Angeles recording studio made a number of fascinating rock albums by the likes of Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine. The beauty of the soundtrack supporting the documentary is that it’s recorded on the run — through outdated analogue recording equipment where a warts and all approach celebrates the immediacy of the music.

Sometimes the songs feel half-done, but are pushed along by the capabilities of the artists, such as Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, Josh Homme, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine. Nicks’s “You Can’t Fix This” is a revelation, sounding like a tougher Fleetwood Mac as a warning is wailed out to a past lover. “Heaven and All” is Grohl and BRMC twisting the music to slow-burning riffs in its low-key glam-rock way. Whereas Rick Springfield of “Jessie’s Girl” fame throws away all that ’80s trash for more abrasive, uncompromising rock in “The Man that Never Was.”

No frills indeed, this is real music.

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