Queens of the Stone Age with …Like Clockwork blows us out of the water. It is a combination of all of their previous records in one, yet still retaining a distinct sound. It feels like the correct natural progression, it doesn’t feel forced. And with guest appearances from Nick Olivier and Mark Lanegan, albeit on backing vocals, there is still that old Queens vibe.
Opener, “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” has a meaty bass line and Joey Castillo’s solid drumming that featured on the last two albums keeps the song going, and I think that Dave Grohl’s drumming does hold more energy, but I think they can both play drums for Queens well, they both bring something different to the band’s overall sound.
“The Vampyre of Time and Money”, is the the first of the slower songs on the album. The band have done it before with “Make it Wit Chu”, but these seem more emotional. Rated R featured slower songs breaking the album up nicely from the energy of such songs like “Quick and to the Pointless” and with these ballads, I feel like the band are doing the same thing. “The Vampyre…” is a really good song, with guitar work sounding like Pink Floyd and the synths in the background just meld everything together in a soothing blend of liquid QOTSA.
“If I had A Tail”, gets itself in my head again and again because it is so catchy. The grooves that the drums and the bass have together work really well on this song, and the Desert Rock feel on this song and throughout the album is like Songs for the Deaf. With Olivier and Lanegan on backing vocals the chorus has a really meaty feel to it, which is a bit lost on this album soundwise, the reason why some compared “My God Is The Sun” to a Them Crooked Vultures song.
And then of course we get to “My God Is The Sun”, half way into the album, and we are breezing through with Michael Shuman’s powerful Bass playing propels this song into a heavy and loud torment of wonder. “Kalopsia” is quiet and feels like it can drag in the verses until the chorus’ screech into life gouging your eyes out to make sure you don’t drift off into “the land of the nightmares”.
“Fairweather Friends” follows along with “Smooth Sailing”, bringing a slightly funkier side to band, but there is still that definite Hard Rock sound to both of them. And then, the penultimate track on our sixth adventure through the desert is “I Appear Missing”. It is a true Queens of the Stone Age masterpiece. The whole song is epic and unbelievable. It follows suit in other QOTSA songs such as “You Can’t Quit Me Baby”, “I Think I Lost My Headache” and “A Song for the Dead”. We are in old school territory here in terms of song construction. Half of the song is an incredible emotional journey of strength from every band member before going into a complex rhythmic section and then into the solo that just is so very good. It wails and plays around with the fabric of air. It manipulates your senses ins ecstasy.
But, it doesn’t end. “…Like Clockwork” ends the album. And the band end the album quietly, but with energy and a brooding bass line to fit. It feels like the end to and epic journey, because it is. The band have improved on their past two albums and made a very good album. This is up there with Rated R, and maybe just ahead of Songs for the Deaf. People will be listening to this, they will be loving this just as we do with their earlier work, for years to come. The only issues I have, is that sometimes it struggles to hold itself in the slower songs, Josh’s voice doesn’t do as well as in the louder powerful songs, but I can live with that. I can live with this album, I can live with it for decades.