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Review: Queens Of The Stone Age – … Like Clockwork (Album)

Check out what we thought of the long awaited new Queens Of The Stone Age album here!

Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like ClockworkBand: Queens Of The Stone Age
Release: … Like Clockwork (Album)
Release Date: 03/06/2013

So Queens Of The Stone Age have finally emerged from the desert with a record that’s taken so long that you almost feel it should be presented on biblical tablets. After a 6 year wait the band have finally wrapped up the side projects long enough to come home to roost. A lot has changed, especially for singer Josh Homme but will his vacation with Them Crooked Vultures be beneficial to the album?

Well without further ado let’s get on with it, after 6 years the waits been long enough. With such a wait it only seemed fair to give a track by track breakdown of one of the most anticipated rock records of the year.

‘…Like Clockwork’ starts with the brooding kiss of stoner rock that is ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’. Moody and pulsating while somehow evoking visions of a dystopian world, has destruction and doom ever been so sexy? We’d love to say we’re surprised but this is Josh Homme, the man who once sung “Well if sex is a weapon/Then smash, boom, pow/How you like me now?”. The difference between this and his previous work is the restraint shown, the ups are accentuated more than before by the almost lazy fuzz of the verse. That’s not to say the whole album is of the same vein but it has similar moments.

 ‘I Sat By The Ocean’ however is not one of those moments, with probably our most favourite riff on the album, it’s perhaps also the most fun song on the album and the nearest to that classic ‘Rated R’ catchiness.

‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’ goes back to dystopia, Homme’s recent near death experience perhaps influencing the albums themes, which isn’t to say the album is a downer. The slow tracks like this one are cathartic and manage to show restraint and a sexy venerability. What is apparent is the focus on the songwriting efforts of this album as opposed to chucking a crazy riff around the bare bones of a song and hoping it sticks, either way its clear Homme has developed so much as a songwriter on this album.

‘If I Had A Tail’ exempting the fact, or perhaps including it, that it features the lyric “We do Ron Ron” (we may have misheard of course) is another sexy panther of a song, all brooding and dripping with sleaze. We’re sure Eagles Of Death Metal bandmate Jesse Hughes wishes he could have taken this song on. With it’s stoner Rolling Stones feel (think ‘Exile on Main Street’ meets Chic in a medical marijuana dispensary).

‘My God Is The Sun’ is the track you’ve likely heard by now, which is to say it’s a fecking good song. Perhaps the tiniest bit displaced in style from the other tracks on the album it’s probably one of their best singles, up their with ‘Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret’ and ‘No One Knows’.

‘Kalpsia’ written with the help of cheeky Arctic Monkeys Alex Turner plays out like a slow lullaby with hints of ‘Band On The Run’ – or about 45 seconds anyway, then it’s back into QOTSA territory as normal with fuzzed out guitars seemingly getting louder and louder like an orgasmic crescendo of pedal noise.

‘Fairweather Friends’ features everyone…not that you’d realise. Did someone say Elton John? Alex Turner? Trent Reznor? So this song isn’t Homme and friends as much as a case of these big stars being lucky enough to chip in a little to this song. The piano of the real queen on the album Elton John sits in the background while the core band sit in the forefront around this trip of a song, burning slow and flashing bright simultaneously.

‘Smooth Sailing’ is the dirty cowboy song, if such a thing exists. Feeling like it could soundtrack a stripers club and a wild west salon at the same time, this pervy sleazeball of a song stomps T-Rex style (maybe thanks to a certain Mr Grohl on drums) if Marc Bolan was moved to the desert and given a lifetime supply of medical enhancement over 2 hours.

‘I Appear Missing’ takes things back to Queens Of The Stone Age’s glamorous end of the world party; hazy and lost, it serves as the perfect meeting point between tripped out QOTSA and the songwriting led focus of ‘…Like Clockwork’ .

Title track ‘…Like Clockwork’ acts as the coda to the bands biggest leap forward yet, aided by just a piano as Mr Homme croons about how “Not everything that goes around comes back again you know”. As the guitars finally make a meandering appearance that just works slap bang on what the song required and nothing more it’s time to sum up this strange beast of album.

This is an album of classy restraint. It’s not an early take-drugs-and-make-noise Queens Of The Stone Age album, neither is it ‘Songs For The Deaf’. It’s a signal point for a new era of a more songwriting led band as Josh Homme adapts to the fact he’s not as young as he used to be. It is apparent perhaps in the distinct change that the 6 year absence of QOTSA since ‘Era Vulgaris’ is due to the fact that they needed to readjust their sails in order to adapt to the inevitable changes, ‘Like Clockwork’ (excuse the pun) we all get older and life is about adapting to that. Homme and company have done so by focusing on new areas while keeping a toe dipped into the past to create an album that is forward reaching but still perfect for old time fans of the band.


Reviewer: Martin-john McDonnell

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