Haunting sounds

The new Queens of the Stone Age (QOSTA) album,Like Clockwork,is one such instance.

Written by Shantanu David | Published: September 7, 2013 3:44:00 am

Album: Queens Of The Stone Age… Like Clockwork

Band: Matador

Price: Rs 520 (approximately) on Amazon

Rating: ****

There are times,when the job of a music critic is rendered delightfully simple by the very nature of an album. The new Queens of the Stone Age (QOSTA) album,Like Clockwork,is one such instance. The band’s sixth studio album after a gap of six years,the ironically titled Like Clockwork,is haunted by several demons,not least frontman Josh Homme nearly “dying” in 2010 and being brought back to life via a defibrillator and long-time drummer Joey Castillo leaving the band abruptly. But it manages to shrug these off by playing to its strength and keeping the listener riveted by its sheer mastery over its material.

The first song Keep your eyes peeled begins with,literally,a rattle and the sound of glass breaking. Within a few seconds,it breaks out in a machismo of drumming and a grimy bass line before Homme’s characteristic vocals spill out of the speakers. The next track,I sat by the ocean,is classic QOSTA with layers of electronica in between grunge sound. The vampyre of time and memory has hints of rock amid a lot of piano and electronica,including the good old Moog synthesizer. This is,perhaps,the most introspective song in the album with clear references in the lyrics to Homme’s brush with death.

The album takes an upward swing with the next couple of tracks — the blues-heavy If I had a tail,and the declaratory My god is the sun. Meanwhile,Kalopsia,the sixth track,is highly distorted,with time lapses aplenty. Smooth sailing is our favourite track — Homme effortlessly switches between soft notes and menacing overtones,producing a high octane track.

The album is notable for its star attractions including Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys,Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters,Trent Reznor,and the original star himself,Sir Elton John (who jocularly remarked that the album needed a real queen in it) all,variously,providing piano,percussion,guitar and backing vocals. They come together for the seventh track,Fairweather friends,making it one of the strongest tracks in the album,musically. Since Castillo’s departure meant a lot of tracks would be without drums,Grohl has done percussion for half the tracks. However,Jon Theodore of the now-disbanded Mars Volta has since taken over drumming duties,making the next album something to listen out for.

shantanu.david@expressindia.com

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