Queens of the Stone Age '...Like Clockwork': What the Critics Are Saying
A six-year hiatus hasn't stopped the musical flow of this classic rock group.
The long awaited Queens of the Stone Age album, ...Like Clockwork, has had fans bubbling with excitement and critics waiting impatiently. After a six-year gap between their last studio album Era Vulgaris, their latest album the hype over the band's sixth studio album has created quite the stir among the music world. With mixed reviews, the band has garnered some criticism for the variety of musicians featured on the album including mega-pop stars such as Elton John. Even with some backlash, the album dropped Monday to mostly positive reviews and even topped the iTunes Top 10 Albums chart.
...Like Clockwork is a unique fusion of QOTSA's classic metal inclinations with some creepy melodic undertones. The album features front-man Josh Homme along with Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita and Michael Shuman. Featured on the album are stars including (ex-band members) Dave Grohl, Nicki Oliveri, Joey Castillio, also Jon Theodore, Trent Reznor and Alex Turner.
Reviews of the album have been mixed, with many critics praising the highly anticipated come back, with others
Billboard's Gary Graff praises the album for its eclectic lineup, crediting the star studded features as "arguably the most potent lineup since Josh Homme put QOTSA together in 1996..." and continues to rave about the musical complementary mix of old and new band members.
Leonie Cooper, writing for NME, let it be known that "Josh Homme gives every single last f--k when it comes to crafting blow-your-mind-and-incinerate-your-crotch rock'n'roll." Cooper went on to compliment Homme in his skill incorporating other musicians into the record, "not that you'd know any of this unless you were told. Their restrained assistance means there's no danger of turning into a sprawling, unfocused 'Josh and friends' record."
The U.K.'s The Independent compliments Homme on his ability to convey "underlying menace on the album" and that "the 10 songs here all carry the sinister edge of QOTSA's previous five albums."
The Los Angeles Times writer Steve Appleford continues the praise by calling the album " a powerful return to the compelling hard-rock and sci-fi riffs the band is known for."
Greg Kort of The Chicago Tribune writes, " ...Like Clockwork is the best and most focused Queens album since 'Songs for the Deaf' in 2002. The drummer, Dave Grohl, and bassist, Nick Oliveri, on that album are back in part-time roles, and they help anchor what is one of the more consistent batch of songs Homme has authored. The key is not just the band's ability to paralyze with power or to space out with stoner-rock psychedelia, but its willingness to infuse its melodies with vulnerability and a disquieting fragility."
Yet, mixed opinions are expressed when it comes to the album's execution. While the album is said to be the most fluid that the band has created to date, there are moments of lackluster music, according to Pitchfork writer Stuart Berman, who says the band "needs to shake off the cobwebs and get back to full strength." Berman continues to describe certain tracks as "listless," and that proclaims that "'Keep Your Eyes Peeled' doesn't fully deliver on the seedy promise of its 'Telegram Sam' strut, while 'The Vampyre of Time and Memory' strains too hard in it's attempt at an early-70s John Lennon piano ballad."
There is speculation if this lack of musicality has to do with a near-death experience Homme's had during the band's hiatus in which he flat lined on the bed of an operating table. According to The Guardian, this "fog" caused the album to progress slowly. Credited to this "fog" is also the split between front man and longtime drummer Joey Castillo. "A sense of things having had to change hangs over these songs, in which unlikely guests combine with innovations to make this the Queens album furthest along from the Stone Age."
...Like Clockwork will be available for purchase on iTunes in the U.S. on June 4th, but is available Monday in the U.K. store.