Album Reviews: Queens Of The Stone Age ‘Villains’

QOTSA have always embraced an uncanny trade-off between unhinged noise to radio friendly hooks. But Villains is one of their most accessible albums yet. And somehow QOTSA manage to pull off a pop flair without crossing the dividing line of cheesy top 40. 



Genre: Rock n’ Roll
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Number of Tracks: 9
Label: Matador
Rating:

Purchase: MP3 / CD / Vinyl 


I must admit, I was a little unsettled when I discovered that Queens Of The Stone Age’s seventh studio album was produced by Mark Ronson. It’s not to say that Ronson lacks in talent, but the likes Bruno Mar’s “Uptown Funk” doesn’t exactly correlate with QOTSA’s abrasive and unhinged sound. I was anticipating something far too clean and commercial for my liking. But Villains is anything but that, and the idea that Josh Homme would allow such a thing is hard to digest. After all, Homme has amassed such a level of stature in the music world, he gets to call the shots. But unlike the bulk of QOTSA’s music, Ronson’s influence renders a dance architecture in which the album is based. QOTSA’s signature landscape of crunchy guitar riffs and scuzz-driven rock n’ roll encompasses the unswerving rhythm on the album’s opener “Feet Don’t Fail Me.”

Homme and crew unleash an all out boogie explosion on the album’s lead single, “The Way You Use To Do.” The repetitive guitar-driven hooks exemplify the likes of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” and Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” Overall, Villains emulates fragments of retro-rock and new wave. Whether intended or unintended, Homme seems to pay an indirect tribute to David Bowie on “Domesticated Animals,” “Fortress” and “Un-Reborn Again” with a similar velvety swagger in his voice. “Head Like A Haunted House” is an upbeat 50’s throwback of gritty guitar chords and raunchy vocal slap-back. QOTSA revisit their original stomping ground on “Hideaway” and “The Evil Has Landed,” two tracks that recapture signature soundscape of Rated R and Songs For The Deaf. 

QOTSA have always embraced an uncanny trade-off between unhinged noise to radio friendly hooks. But Villains is one of their most accessible albums yet. Not because of it’s dancey undertones, but because of sounds and melodies that are all too familiar. And somehow QOTSA manage to pull off a pop flair without crossing the dividing line of becoming a cheesy top 40 band. The only catch-22; it comes with a loss of QOTSA’s authenticity as Homme injects a slew of throwback elements.


Stream “The Evil Has Landed” and “The Way You Use To” below:




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