Aug. 24, 2017


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The Pitch: California band Queens of the Stone Age, in my mind the only true "rock" band still worth a damn, are back with their 7th full length album, Villains.  Time to turn back the clock once more... 

What I Like: What I find so interesting about QOTSA is that while most of the other rock groups popular during their ascent to mainstream status have either modernized their sound or fizzled out into obscurity, these guys have been heading on a more retro trajectory.  I spoke at length upon the release of ...Like Clockwork that the band had all but abandoned their heavier and alternative leanings in favor of a sound that I likened much more to David Bowie circa Hunky DoryVillains very much continues this approach with a set of songs that would be right at home on a playlist with not only Ziggy Stardust, but also Led Zeppelin and Sgt. Peppers-era The Beatles.

One need only listen to the aptly-titled lead single, "The Way You Used To Do" to get a sense of the Chuck Berry and rockabilly guitar riffs that are all over this record.  Is it future, or is it past?  QOTSA, above all else, seem to care little for convention and just want to rock out like the old days.  There are a few really nice flourishes, though.  I am particularly in love with the opening track, "Feet Don't Fail Me" with it's lush 80's synth intro (a motif that pops up more than once) as well as the surprise string intro to "Fortress."  And as for Josh Homme's crooning, it sounds more like the Thin White Duke than ever.

Critiques: For all of its nostalgia and little twists, I don't enjoy this album as much as I did ...Like Clockwork.  Given, that last release was a bit of a grower that I didn't love at first, but even then the tracks really stuck in my head.  With Villains, I find a lot of them to be unmemorable and sometimes even dull.  The guitarwork is playing on old tricks so much as to blend a little too much into the catalogue of classic music that inspired it.

The Verdict: Villains has a few really standout moments that remind me why Queens of the Stone Age are perhaps the only rock band that should still matter in 2017.  However, due to some generic riffing and perhaps diving a little too deep into nostalgia, the album doesn't stand up for me as a whole.  Even so, I recommend checking it out this Friday and at least hearing some of the interesting directions the band is still exploring.

Flight's Fav's: Feet Don't Fail Me, Un-Reborn Again, Fortress

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