Album Review: Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

by David Safar

Queens of the Stone Age's sixth album is <em>...Like Clockwork</em>.
Queens of the Stone Age's sixth album is ...Like Clockwork. (Album artwork)

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From Kyuss to Them Crooked Vultures, it's been a long road to the age of 40 for Queens of the Stone Age's frontman Josh Homme.

When grunge broke, Homme was at the forefront of a genre that inspired countless commercial rock wannabes. Easily pegged as "stoner rock," Homme continues to hold out the persona of his teens while becoming one of the most recognized guitar players in rock music. This persona is part of the mystery and charm behind Queens Of The Stone Age. The band is often more about an attitude than a sound, and the attitude sounds great on ...Like Clockwork.

Homme has always been serious about not being serious. The infamous Desert Sessions with P.J. Harvey, Mark Lanegan, and Dean Ween once revealed this dual personality behind the music that helped create many of the building blocks for both QOTSA and Eagles of Death Metal. More recently, Homme appeared in the cast of Dave Grohl's Sound City, playing alongside Paul McCartney and Trent Reznor. You have to be a serious musician to play with McCartney, right?

Homme, "music is a pleasure device .... and the best thing in life is to be understood .... and the best way to be understood is to have your own style." "What if it sounded really cool backwards?" "...I like to buy guitars that don't need ... to be customized. I like to buy character guitars. I don't have a Les Paul, I don't have a Stratocastor. I have weird Japanese Guitars."

If you've followed QOTSA's music and trail of YouTube clips (like the one above), you know that behind the rock swagger is possibly the most quintessential rock band in America. Not because of their obsession with Truckfighters, or opinions on Maynard James Keenan and Creed, but because they have figured out how to re-invent rock music. QOTSA built the sound of modern rock by taking the rock riffs and clichés of the past and giving them new meaning.

So, driven by chemical inspirations and a serious lust for musical gear, Homme returns after a five year hiatus to deliver QOTSA's sixth studio album. After the 2007's underwhelming Era Vulgaris, the Eagles of Death Metal nested so Homme could create a true QOTSA album. ...Like Clockwork is a return to form for fans who listened to the past two albums waiting for the next "Avon," "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," or "Leg of Lamb." ...Like Clockwork comes close to being a QOTSA musical masterpiece, but nothing will match the terrifying perfection of Songs for the Deaf. Like the re-invented rock songs from their debut, Homme is now giving new meaning to his own material.

...Like Clockwork is out now in Matador Records.

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