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Queens of the Stone Age, ‘…Like Clockwork’ – Album Review

Matador

Welcome back Queens of the Stone Age and all of their talented friends! It’s been six years since the band last released ‘Era Vulgaris,’ and it’s apparent that mastermind frontman Josh Homme hasn’t lost his touch for fuzzed out amps blasting guitar rock. But the band’s ‘…Like Clockwork’ album also shows another side with a handful of moody, introspective piano-driven tracks that just add to the musical palette.

Though there has been plenty of buzz about ‘…Like Clockwork’s’ all-star contributors, the core four-piece has ample room to shine. The album opens with the darkly intoxicating opener ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled,’ an experimental track with Homme offering falsetto as Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears contributes backing vocals.

But things venture into more accessible territory with the standout track ‘I Sat By the Ocean.’ This traditional rocker features an infectious ‘Good Times Roll’ guitar lick and a swagger that just swings.

Songs like ‘The Vampyre of Time and Money,’ with Homme asking the question, “Does anyone ever get this right?,” and the album ender ‘…Like Clockwork,’ in which the singer’s final words are, “One thing is clear, it’s all downhill from here,” show the band in a more introspective light, but with perhaps more honesty and insight than the listener has ever had with Queens prior.

Other standouts on the album include the over-the-top in a good way song ‘Fairweather Friends,’ with a guest list that includes Elton John, Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri. John’s piano work and backing vocals definitely add something special to the track. ‘If I Had a Tail’ finds Arctic Monkeys‘ Alex Turner and Lanegan and Oliveri sitting in, with Dave Grohl going heavy on the cymbals behind the kit. Meanwhile, the band has already enjoyed some success at radio with the hard-driving lead single ‘My God Is the Sun,’ which features an intriguing carnival-like breakdown toward the end.

Though the mood can turn a bit dark at times, there’s no denying the passion in creation put toward this album by Homme, his bandmates and his musical pals. ‘…Like Clockwork’ comes off as a timeless piece of music that would rock in any era.

4.5 Stars

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