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Chris Shiflett - West Coast Town album review

Foos guitarist steps out of the shadows and into the shade

Cover art for Chris Shiflett - West Coast Town album

As one of the two members of Foo Fighters who could jump into their own moshpit and not be recognised – the other being wotsisname on bass – guitarist Chris Shiflett is a man who can slip out of his milieu without anyone noticing.

But all credit to his work ethic. Not one to rest on his laurels, while there’s some downtime from the day job, Shiflett dons a Stetson and cowboy boots to make his third foray into the world of country music.

With producer Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) at the helm, the sound is pure Bakersfield, with elements of honky-tonk thrown in, and country staples such as pedal steel all present and correct.

Alas, despite such elements in place, Shiflett offers no new perspective on a genre that can all too often rely on tried and tested formulas, and the result is a triumph of mediocrity.

Sticks And Stones is the kind of thing even Ryan Adams would reject during one of his over productive periods. Elsewhere, Still Better Days is the sound of The Rembrandts’ I’ll Be There For You being repurposed for line dancing. Accordingly, it’ll be totally forgotten about come Glastonbury.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.