Album Review: Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

By on Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Queens of the Stone Age Like Clockwork coverQueens of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme stands at a formidable 1.93 m: in layman’s terms, that’s a fucktonne bigger than you and me, and I am comically large, I will have you know. [John is. The top of his head banged into the shower head at the place we were staying for Liverpool Sound City. This sort of thing is unfathomable to a prawn like me.- Ed.]

Homme has collaborated with Dave Grohl *a lot*. He has collaborated with John Paul Jones *a lot*. He and Alex Turner ride bikes together and make music together *a lot*. Oh, and Elton John personally asked to appear on his newest record, ‘Like Clockwork’. Josh Homme would beat Jack White in a fight, no matter what Q’s Niall Doherty says. He’s massive and scary, and I bet his dad could beat your dad in a fight too.

Now that that’s over with, let’s concentrate on the music, shall we? ‘…Like Clockwork’ is QOTSA’s sixth record and their first since 2007’s ‘Era Vulgaris’, and for certain, this is their most competent and conclusive effort since the critically lauded ‘Songs for the Deaf’. It’s been 2 years in the making and as mentioned above, it features a plethora of contributors, from the most bulging Little Black Book of contacts, this side of ‘The Joshua Tree’.

‘…Like Clockwork’ is dramatic, with almost a pantomimic sense of angst underlying angst and despair. It’s not a sob story to Homme’s underlying medical traumas, which were parallel with this album’s recording; it’s instead a general tale of misery and desolation, interspersed with the ferocious guitars of Homme and co. on banger ‘My God is the Sun’. As an album the record runs perfectly. It tells a story and no song is trying too hard to be anything different to what QOTSA are: a sleazy tribute to desert rock, put together by the mastermind of the barren areas of the world. What the record lacks is that stand-out single which is going to make festival audiences, from Mexico City, to Rio, to Reading go ballistic.

‘Kalopsia’ comes close to that mark, jutting away in the middle with bipolar changes of pace, and second single ‘I Appear Missing’ trickles with gore and skulduggery. On ‘Smooth Sailing’, Homme proclaims, “I blow my load over the status quo” and he’s “risking it always, no second chance / it’s gonna be smooth sailing from here on out”, before the track morphs into a chugging profusion of filth and swagger as the thudding bassline persists along underneath Homme’s screeching vocals.

Throughout the record, QOTSA’s trademarked coolness and fuzzy guitars lie beneath the subtler melodies. Whilst the drums, in part provided by that lad from Foo Fighters and Nirvana Dave Grohl, hammer at an almost frenetic pace, that’ll have ex-QOTSA drummer Joey Castillo, the only man I have ever heard break a drum skin with his stick, curl with rage. QOTSA are back to their best, as if they ever really left it with the relatively tame ‘Era Vulgaris’. They at times reach Rated R levels of naughtiness, but let’s be honest, isn’t it just nice to have the band back to their eponymous best?

Keep on riffing, Homme. See you at Download.

8/10

‘…Like Clockwork’, Queen of the Stone Age’s sixth album, is out today on Matador.

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[…] Tool’s 2006 album ‘10,000 Days’ in its staccato verses. ‘Wires’ has a relentless, almost Queens of the Stone Age edge, with a killer key change on the chorus and mesmeric finale. It was followed up by ‘Into the […]

[…] you live, can watch it. And it’s nearly an hour long, so for any of you QOTSA / hard rock / ‘…Like Clockwork’-loving heads out there…this one’s for […]

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