BY ALYSSA HOLCOMB
Alt-rock heavyweights Queens of the Stone Age have returned riff-heavy with their first record since 2007. … Like Clockwork is just as you remember the California-based band – hard, driven, and full of awesome.
“Keep Your Eyes Peeled” opens the album with a dark, bass-heavy drawl, while “I Sat By The Ocean” picks up the tempo with singer-guitarist Josh Homme keeping his vocals just the right mix of chest and falsetto.
“The Vampyre of Time and Memory” varies a bit with its techno/piano opening hybrid. “If I Had A Tail” stands out with bassist Michael Shuman pounding out a beat that’s equally gritty and sexy. Adding to the song’s greatness, Dave Grohl fills in on the drums behind an all-star lineup of gang vocals featuring Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan and former QOTSA member Nick Oliveri.
First single, “My God Is The Sun,” is equal parts up-tempo and slightly psychedelic. This transitions into the Trent Reznor-featured “Kalopsia,” which is slow and slightly Soundgarden-sounding in its deep vocals overlaying softer music.
“Fairweather Friends” shows off Homme’s voice with a bit more belt. The grooving “Smooth Sailing” is full-on funky and arguably one of the album’s best tracks. At first, you could mistake it for an outlier on a Jack White record.
The album closes out with the Beatlesque “I Appear Missing,” a pitched verse transitioning into a harsher chorus. The title track is last, a piano ballad intro fading into some melodic musical chaos (again, a la The Beatles) halfway through.
Even though my QOTSA knowledge is limited, an album like this proves that this is not only a band full of a variety of influences, but one with the rare knowledge of how to combine those influences in the right way – and make an awesome record out of it, once again.
Queens of the Stone Age is touring the festival circuit in Europe this summer and will headline Lollapalooza in August. For more information, check out the band’s website: www.qotsa.com.