Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador)

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Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador)

While it easy to point out the obvious on this album – the skull-pounding riffery which is a QOTSA signature (notably on the closing overs of the pounding Evil Has Landed) and the involvement of producer Mark Ronson to add a twist – there are other and slightly unexpected elements which emerge: the subtle Bowie-as-heroic-political-balladeer influence in Josh Homme's vocals (notably on Domestic Animals and Fortress); the overt reference to Bowie's one-time running mate Marc Bolan on the glam-pop of Un-Reborn Again; Homme and Ronson shaping a timeless pop-rock ballad on Hideaway which succeeds more through understatement . . .

Despite Ronson's presence (you'd perhaps not have though Amy Winehouse's songshaper and sometimes over-producer would have a place here) much of this is QOTSA as many want to hear them, just sharper, more focused in places (less in others regrettably) and pushing a few more boundaries.

But material like The Way You Used to Do is little more than familiar boogie and you suspect if you didn't know who it was you'd shrug. It's a bit of fun but sent me to an old ZZ Top album . . . which I suspect wasn't the intention.

Parallel to the music of course Homme is a man with things to say (personal and political mostly) but even here there are too many times when it doesn't add up to as much as it might have.

So an album like the curate's egg, good in parts, but not the outright cleanly-produced killer or experiment it could have been.

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mason baker - Sep 5, 2017

This album isn't far off being the best release of 2017. GRAHAM REPLIES: Seems to have divided people this one, for my money when it's good it's great but then there's the other songs.

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