Queens of the Stone Age
…Like Clockwork Album Review
Released June 3, 2013
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock, Stoner Rock, Desert Rock
Desert Rock kings, ironically named, Queens of the Stone Age return with their sixth studio album, …Like Clockwork, with a new drummer and 10 new, astounding tracks, which further reinforce our love for Josh Homme and crew as they further establish their name in the realm of alternative rock.
…Like Clockwork opens up with “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” a rough, brash tune with a heavily distorted and steady bass line and steady drumming with Homme’s crooning laid out over a subtle piano piece. It’s not too long until the song explodes with psychedelic riffs, Homme’s rough vocals along with the band’s melodic, steamy and scattered vocals ring out. It’s a daunting, sinister entrance and the band doesn’t stop there. With “I Sat By The Ocean”, psychedelic riffs again come into play with passionate vocals from lead singer Josh Homme, “We’re passing ships in the night” he sings before belting out a rough falsetto, trying his hardest and it pays off well as the track closes off loudly, not letting anything quiet intrude.
The soft ballad “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” gives the listener some rest and lyrically is one of the best here on this LP. “I want God to come, and take me home, cause I’m all alone in this crowd” he sings while patient, mellow piano chords ring out along with distorted, buzzing synths and simple yet effective drumming. It takes a track like this to really bring out the sharp musicianship and songwriting from this band AND this album and it remains a high point on ...Like Clockwork.
Things then pick up again with “If I Had A Tail”, which sounds a lot like The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”, but the psychedelic touches keep it new and fresh with the catchy riffs, exploding drums, grooving bass line and the lyrics about swatting flies with a tail. Who cares though? Be sure to wear a belt when listening to this song, it rocks and its menacing. End of story.
I’m still going to list positive things, because there are A LOT on this album. “My God Is The Sun”, features a great, great, great opening riff and the songs barrages you with all its got; its instrumentation, distortion, drums and again Homme’s passionate vocals carry the song with energy and creativity. The heavy track “Kalopsia” is classic QOTSA material and even features Trent Reznor on drums, giving more to the rough, abrasive sound. “Fairweather Friends” just explodes with energy, smart musicianship, and distorted riffs all backed by percussion powerhouse Jon Theodore, formerly the drummer for The Mars Volta. The song features great cameos from Elton John and longtime QOTSA contributor Dave Grohl, “So what’s it gonna take” Homme roars and he delivers with every lasting second.
The “Personal Jesus” style romp “Smooth Sailing” will have anyone dancing and bobbing their heads and the last two tracks, “I Appear Missing” and “…Like Clockwork”, the two longest on this LP, close off the album nicely with electrifying energy and a sweet piano ballad, respectively. The last track, Homme gives his all lyrically and in a way stylistically. “The deeper in the water, the more I long for you” he croons, and by this point in the album, we’re deep into his psychedelic riff heavy spell.
With …Like Clockwork, QOTSA delivers their most energetic, cohesive, focused and now, their most memorable LP to date. The band poured their blood (figuratively) , sweat, and tears into this and through the smart and well balanced musicianship and instrumentation it’s felt and heard. The balance between rock anthems and ballads remain fair and true, even Homme’s vocals become more emotional here as he shows a more soft side, which takes guts to do in the music scene.
Lyrically and thematically, the album tackles themes of abandonment, loss and heartache with a dark and menacing approach, helping …Like Clockwork become more appealing to practically anybody. It’s an immersive album that comes alive instantly after hitting play, and its effect upon listeners will cause repercussions that will bounce around the head for months. It takes audacity, time (6 years to be exact), and patience to make a strong, sharp and engaging album like this.
The band tend to become liberal with this sound that they have on this LP however this sound rarely lingers as MOR (middle-of-road) material by QOTSA standards even dealing a gentle tune here and then. Primarily, this is a fantastic record and QOTSA show that even after being broken and torn, they still can rock beyond standards set up for them long ago. *Kyuss would be so proud. On the verge of being forgotten after a six year hiatus, QOTSA deliver a relentless, brutal and tenacious record that forces you to keep them in the recesses of your brain.
*Homme’s previous band before QOTSA who are considered pioneers in the stoner rock/desert rock genre
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: Keep Your Eyes Peeled, I Sat By The Ocean, The Vampyre of Time and Memory, If I Had A Tail, My God Is The Sun, Kalopsia, Fairweather Friends, Smooth Sailing, I Appear Missing, …Like Clockwork
LEAST FAV TRACK: NONE