Queens of the Stone Age

Villains

Matador

Aug 25, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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"The Way You Used to Do" marks maybe the darkest chapter for Josh Homme's Queens of the Stone Age. The direct-input guitar, pumped full of pulpy funk is the sound of a band satisfied with themselvesand that's dangerous. You can picture it now: Homme hip-slinging, leather jacket wrapped around his towering shoulders, cigarette hanging from his lips. It's an effortlessly cool look, but that's what it is, effortless.

2013's ...Like Clockwork was a sinister and existentially clawing cocktail of stadium rock with an extra topping of grit that years in the California desert has adorned onto Queens. Villains, however, is an escapist piece that harkens for a day when rock and roll was just a rollicking good time. With slick pop producer Mark Ronson in tow, tracks like "The Evil Has Landed" bob along with a polish that has all the instruments grooving on an even keel. A similar production note can be made of "Domesticated Animals" where every bent note rings out in the opening riff for just about the right time, and not a second more. The shingles that peppered Queens of the Stone Age's DNA have been all but sanded down leaving a melodic, squeaky-clean reinvention of the band we thought we knew.

"Feet Don't Fail Me Now" and album highlight "Un-Reborn Again" pick up where ...Like Clockwork left off with expansive and expressive song structures and guitars that pulse erratically. However, Homme's initial involvement with Sheffield's golden boys, Arctic Monkeys, at the time, raised eyebrows about how far Homme had shaped their sound from Humbug onwards. Villains suggests that the inspiration was mutual. "Head Like a Haunted House" jitters along like a cut from Favourite Worst Nightmare with a pinch of Dead Kennedys thrown in for good measure.

It'll be of concern to Queens purists that Villains pulls from sounds that expired a decade ago and beyond. Dwelling on better times of a bygone era is a fundamental pillar of escapism, but it's disconcerting when one of the most uncompromising, forward-thinking bands in the rock pantheon leans so heavily on what worked in the past that they forget that the onus is on them to innovate. (www.qotsa.com)  

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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Rando
August 25th 2017
8:34am

No.

FA
August 28th 2017
10:48pm

You sound like you really love the way you write.

Lonnie
September 21st 2017
3:37pm

This is one of those reviews we can all laugh at in 5 years over its pretentiousness and lack of vision. Villians is certainly better than 5/10. I give Mr. Butler a 2/10 on his review. Listen to the album again sir.