Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus Bangalore edition on July 3rd, 2013
Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
Rs 120 (MP3)
For an introduction, Queens of the Stone Age are a hard/heavy/stoner/psychedelic rock band which once delivered a song called ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ in 2000. And though the connotations of that song are only understood once you listen to it, the band is out to do something not-so-feel-good on their latest album, …Like Clockwork.
Of course, thirteen years and three albums after they shot to mainstream success, this new record makes for a great summer addition to the list of albums filling up CD racks/hard disk folders. The only thing is, it’s got that heat and sweaty, stoner, desert rock sound that the band is known for, but it’s much more of a depressing album. In case you haven’t checked out the music videos released for the first singles, it’s a very freaky storyline QOTSA is visualising. ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ is a mellow opening, compared to their usual style of getting a hooky song in first. But ‘I Sat By The Ocean’ and ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’ shows return to the that classic style of screeching guitar melodies from guitarist and vocalist Josh Homme.
Homme pulls in a number of old friends on …Like Clockwork, from past members such as Joey Castillo and Nick Olivieri to more famous names such as Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Elton John and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). There are three stellar tracks that make up the central part of this album which are really diverse – from the epic rock ‘If I Had A Tail’ featuring Turner to the hard rock instant-classic ‘My God Is The Sun’ and then the mellow, half-haunting ‘Kalopsia’ featuring Reznor in a collaboration like no other (well, you can also count their jam on the soundtrack to the documentary Soundcity: Real to Reel). Piano rockstar Elton John leads on with the band on ‘Fairweather Friends’ while the last three songs on the album are left entirely to the band. There’s truly something about the flow of the riffs, alluding to the title …Like Clockwork, like on the dreamy, symphonic ‘I Appear Missing’.
They strut in true QOTSA style on ‘Smooth Sailing’, a clear indication of what’s happening with the band despite the six-year gap in albums. Sure there was Soundcity, sure there was Them Crooked Vultures (a supergroup we need to hear from again), but for now, it’s all about Queens of the Stone Age.