Real to Reel is a soundtrack album to the documentary film Sound City, created by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters (and formerly Nirvana) fame about the shabby-but-legendary recording studio of the same name. Sound City spawned some classic rock albums in it’s time, championed for its acoustical recording on drums and it’s analogue soundboard. Along with a host of artists which either recorded there, or are just part of the furniture/legends in their own right (yes I’m talking about you Paul McCartney), I think this album managed to capture that sound.
I would say it, as a whole, sounds like a spinoff from Foo Fighters—and it kind of is really—but listening as a whole body of work, there are some interesting songs which give off a sense that the artists were able to relax and have a bit of fun when collaborating, it can be described as possibly the result of one long jam session.
Where there were collaborations with some classic names in rock music, they were obviously allowed to add their own vibe to it:
- A bit of Fleetwood Mac harmony coming through on “You Cant Fix This” (with Stevie Nicks),
- The more minor and almost foreign tones of some of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age’s more toned down tracks in “Centipede” (with Chris Goss)
- Punk vibes on “Your Wife Is Calling” which I liken to something like Dead Kennedys with the vocals
- Some swagger from Paul McCartney on Cut Me Some Slack (it’s strange but surprisingly fitting hearing his vocals over heavier stuff)
- An atmospheric industrial track (with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame)