Queens of the Stone Age has made a career out of sounding like ‘70s hard rock with sincerity, integrity, and vocals (that of Josh Homme) few rock gods of the era could achieve. The aforementioned voice is lilting without sounding falsetto, hardcore without exclusivity, and dripping with sexuality without sounding overtly macho. I worship at the feet of Homme’s honey-pipes, as I’ve expressed in many other places before. Another oft-mentioned confession I have about Homme’s voice is the following: I don’t feel like it’s summer until I’ve driven down the sun-soaked roads of Joplin with it in my ear-holes, an event I achieved just this week, in case you were worried it wasn’t summer. It is.
This record does NOT disappoint, if you couldn’t tell where this was going. I’ve only ever reviewed one album I didn’t like (Madonna’s “MDNA”) in these pages (those of the Current, Etc where this was originally published). If you already like QOTSA, you’ll like this album, though it doesn’t sound totally akin to other albums before it. The lyrics, song and album titles include a lot of cliches (“passing ships in the night”, “why the long face?”, “is there anyone out there?”, “it’s all downhill from here”), but I think that might be the point, and though I’ve criticized Madonna for this exact same reason, I can look past it when the riffs are THIS good. The essential elements of QOTSA we know and love are all here in abundance: crunchy bass, guitar distortion striking just the right balance, driving/drilling/hypnotic guitar riffs, and Homme’s voice cooing throughout. Overall, the headbangers are subdued to spirited chin-juts and the tempo is slowed to more of a groove than their usual faire on most tracks of “...Like Clockwork”, but you won’t mind, I swear.
If you get into QOTSA for the first time (this album is in all the regular streaming and music selling places online) and want to REALLY go down the Homme rabbit-hole, check out not only Queens’ other albums, but also Them Crooked Vultures, Kyuss, and Eagles of Death Metal. That should tide you over for an entire summer of creek-ventures, porch beer-parties and long drives to Mother Nature’s Crack. Happy Summer, boys, girls, and other creatures of the night!
Favorite Lyric: “When you own the world, you’re always home.”
Favorite Song (So Far): Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Let me know your thoughts on this and Homme’s other musical endeavors here: firstname.lastname@example.org