Like Chickenfoot and Them Crooked Vultures, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins’ second outing with the Coattail Riders is another perfectly solid and solidly entertaining foray into pedigreed, classic 1970s AOR territory. Red Light Fever finds Hawkins fronting what sounds like the hardest working L.A. bar band of the highest caliber. How else to describe a project that features Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor on two songs, Elliot Easton of the Cars, and head Foo Dave Grohl on others? Like a mellower Queens of the Stone Age with comparable swing and swagger, the always likeable Hawkins establishes himself from the outset on “Not Bad Luck” with booming, chest-pounding superrawk, and a surprisingly malleable rock voice with effortless cool. Personality’s never been a problem for this guy, nor has his ability to admit that Red Light Fever isn’t a bait-and-switch; Hawkins isn’t hiding his influences with crossed fingers behind his back, hoping we won’t notice the flourishes of the Foos and Queen here, and (arguably) Cheap Trick, The Police and Twisted Sister there. This is a love letter to Hawkins’ musical upbringing and record collection, and an unabashedly shiny rock ’n’ roll album that wears its intentions and raspy heart on its sleeve. With chugging, proggy, big-stick guitar licks, and plenty of tailor-made arena-rock anthems (“Your Shoes,” “Never Enough,” “Way Down” and “Hole in My Shoes”), Red Light Fever is a high-energy accompaniment to lazy days at California’s Dockweiler Beach as the stoners and surfers converge on the unpredictable environs for the promise of abundant sunshine, beach barbecues and good times. It belies no other motivation other than to get audiences on their feet and banging their fists as if to shout at the Gods (and holy canon) of Rock, “I wanna rock! Rock!” (Shanabelle/RCA) –Carrie Alison

  1. [...] like his fellow Foo Taylor Hawkins‘ recent side project, Shiflett recorded at the Foo Fighters’ Studio 606 between [...]