thu 15/04/2021

CD: Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

CD: Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

Josh Homme's rockers are back - and they've brought their pals

There's little that hasn't been thrown into the mix on '...Like Clockwork'

Reasons behind the prolonged absence of Queens of the Stone Age are legion, including line-up turbulence, successful side projects and the near-death experience of band linchpin Josh Homme.

Reasons behind the prolonged absence of Queens of the Stone Age are legion, including line-up turbulence, successful side projects and the near-death experience of band linchpin Josh Homme. As if to acknowledge and compensate for the lengthy gap in new material since 2007‘s Era Vulgaris, there’s little that hasn’t been thrown into the ...Like Clockwork mix: power ballads, industrial sleaze, surprising reunions, the sound of broken glass - and Elton John on piano.

That contribution - the joyous backdrop, half-buried in the mix, of a song called “Fairweather Friends” that begins like something off David Bowie’s new album and ends as a frantic oddity all of its own - would be more remarkable if it didn’t occur on an album that also sees the return of Nick Oliveri, the bassist who was fired from the band in 2004. It’s not quite a reunion though: Oliveri joins Mark Lanegan and Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner to form a demented chorus on the louche, sleazy rocker “If I Had a Tail”.

“I Sat By the Ocean” is an early highlight after the album’s heavy, bluesy start, with the sort of anthemic riff that easily holds its own against the band’s feelgood hits of the past. Yet the sparse opening of “Vampyre of Time and Memory” shows that they can play minimal just as effectively, holding back and letting drums and a mighty guitar solo fill out the rest of the song.

Still, Homme remains at his best when using his expressive voice to camp it up a little. “Smooth Sailing” is ludicrously over the top, one of five tracks to feature the return to the band of Dave Grohl on drums (and possibly a falsetto backing vocal?), and easily the best thing on the album. Handing over the reigns to Trent Reznor on “Kalopsia”, which is probably supposed to have some kind of dreamy, psychedelic feel but really just comes across as a bit cheesy, makes that track probably one to skip.

Watch the typically enigmatic video for "My God is the Sun" below


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