Music: Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

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It's been a long six years since the Queens last convened to put out 2007's Era Vulgaris, the longest gap in-between albums for the band. To say that the lead up to Queens of the Stone Age's sixth album was rough is an understatement. A routine knee surgery for Queens head honcho Josh Homme that went so far south to the point of near death on the operating table. He spent the following four months recuperating and bedridden, sending Homme into a dark vortex of depression.

However, from the darkness comes light, so does QotSA's sixth long-player ...Like Clockwork. This is not your typical peyote-laced trip through the desert; this is ten songs documenting a long road out of hell for Homme. And the road can be as bleak as fuck at times. "I'm alive - hooray" he laments on piano-driven ballad "The Vampyre of Time and Memory" alluding to how Homme felt during his four month incapacitation while recovering from his near fatal surgery. But it's on penultimate track "I Appear Missing" that the desolation of it all really hits home. A gut wrenching punch is landed with the first verse, Homme croons "Calling all comas/Prisoner on the loose/Description: A spitting image of me/Except for the heart-shaped hole where the hope runs out" over some seriously sublime guitar lines. Bloody hell!!

You'd be foolish to think that it's all sad bastard songs though. This is a band that revels in dirty rock n roll swagger as much as the emotional introspective and it doesn't get any more hedonistic on the funky stomper "Smooth Sailing". Iggy Pop wishes he could steal a line as classic as "I blow my load all over the status quo".

While it isn't as heavy as previous QotSA albums ...Like Clockwork is definitely the most mature album they've done to date.  Perhaps a stint on the sidelines is just what the doctor ordered for Queens, with Homme's versatility as a songwriter reaching a new height here. The much publicised and sometimes surprising guest appearances are mostly understated with barely a line from Trent Reznor or Nick Oliveri. The main guest contributors being Dave Grohl (drums on half of the tracks) and Sir Elton John's piano work and backup vocals on the standout track "Fairweather Friends". 

With Josh teasing that with such a cathartic album out of the way, their next album may not too far off. Where Homme and Co take us with it would be nothing short of a wild guess. But it's guaranteed it's going to be tough to live up to such a brilliant fucking rock album.
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This page contains a single entry by Keegs Scilini published on June 23, 2013 1:19 PM.

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