Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

likeclockwork

Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
Matador Records
June 4, 2013

What It Sounds Like:  Only QOTSA can craft a sound like this, combining alternative rock with stoner, sludge, and darkness, and all the while maintaining bits of pop and psych to create melody.

I sat by the ocean
And drank a potion
Baby to erase you.

Face down in the Boulevard
Yet I couldn’t face you.

There ain’t no use in crying
It doesn’t change anything,
So baby what good does it do?

Your friends
They all sympathize.
Maybe
I don’t need them too.

So this is what Josh Homme has been up to for the past six years since we heard Era Vulgaris.  Goodness, that seems like along time ago…

Let’s get right to this point:  …Like Clockwork is truly a great record.  It maintains all the classic elements of QOTSA and the sounds that they have crafted all throughout the years, and still manages to turn a new corner:  one of darkness, heaviness, and fear.  It’s more than apparent as we kick into Keep Your Eyes Peeled, a claustrophobic nightmare with a minimalistic backdrop led only by a steady, distorted mega-dropped tone that crunches the space you are in just a little bit tighter.  It’s the feeling of impending doom.  It’s the feeling that things not only can’t turn out alright, but that no, they will not turn out alright.  Fallen leaves realize they are no friend of autumn / The view from Hell is blue sky / So ominously blue / I daydream until all the blue is gone, Homme delivers.  Please, please – wake me up from this.

We get little relief, but certainly the best sense of it comes in in the form of I Sat By The Ocean, the closest thing that we will ever get from these guys that resembles a breakup / lost love song.  The heavy overtones are greeted with a pop sensibility that make it a perfect single (even though the more charging My God Is The Sun got that distinction as the first one).  Scratch that though, with my claim that it’s the only relief on the record:  We must mention Smooth Sailing, which very well may have been pulled off the next Eagles Of Death Metal record.  I blow my load / Over the status quo, Homme sings in an almost falsetto and deserved cockiness.  It’s this record’s version of Era Vulgaris’s Make It Wit Chu – but only better.  The current state of ‘swagger’ and Queens Of The Stone Age don’t go together, but there’s no denying – it’s here on this track (As well as the killer If I Had A Tail).  You’ve never heard darkness and sexiness blurred together as well as you will right here.

There simply are not misses on …Like Clockwork.  It’s not a concept record, but it certainly feels like one.  It’s a journey through a desolate space – a dark-encrusted desert of monsters, heat, and doors that may appear out of nowhere and transport you to another dimension.  I Appear Missing is exactly I would expect to hear if I was on a quest for the Dark Tower and was passing through the city of Lud, while The Vampyre Of Time And Memory shows us a more restrained side, looking at the world and asking the same question we’ve been asking for as long as Earth has been spinning:  Does anyone ever get this right?  I feel no love.

Queens Of The Stone Age have brought us their most calculated, unnerving, and collected work to date.  There could be a million arguments for or against if it is their best work (I’m sure most purists are going to stick with Rated R, or the breakthrough Songs For The Deaf).  All I know is this:  …Like Clockwork has been in my cd player for the past week, and I’m not even close to be wanting to take it out.

9/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  I Sat By The Ocean / If I Had A Tail

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