Words by Tyler Rosen
…Like Clockwork is a schizophrenic album on its surface. Many of Queens of the Stone Age hallmarks traits are present throughout, and yet there are times where the music sounds as if it is coming from a completely different band, almost imitating other alternative acts i.e. The Black Keys. Despite this sounding like a bad thing, the different musical elements all blend together nicely, making for a heavy yet down-to-earth sounding record appealing to several different sensibilities.
The opening sounds of “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” is immediately striking due to its slow, trippy nature, reminiscent of something you might hear in a jazz club. While it may seem like a strange choice for an opener, the song succeeds in setting the tone for the rest of the record. Things pick up with “I Sat By the Ocean”, a more straightforward offering that is upbeat and laid back at the same time. The tempo shifts back to the slower side on “The Vampyre of Time and Memories”, a fairly uninteresting ballad that at least is consistent with the album’s overall attitude.
The remainder of …Like Clockwork follows a similar pattern of in-your-face rock songs complemented by mellow, drug-induced sounding trips. “If I Had A Tail” leans on the heavier side while still staying low-key, and features a Rolling Stones-esque beat. “My God Is The Sun” is probably the most QOTSA song on the record, which is sure to please longtime fans. There’s nothing on …Like Clockwork that serves as direct parallels to “No One Knows” or “Go with The Flow”, which may turn off some people. Still, the down-to-earth tone justifies the lack of more radio friendly tunes. Other songs, including “Kalopsia” (featuring guest vocals from Trent Reznor), “Fairweather Friends” and “I Appear Missing”, lean towards the mellow side, providing a nice change of pace without feeling like hard swing. The album unfortunately fails to stick the landing with the title track, containing a vast array of sounds that eventually drags and becomes stale as a result.
Josh Homme’s vocals work on the majority the tracks, despite sounding a bit frail at times. The guitarwork is also well done, lending some compelling melodies and a distorted, fuzzy sound. Dave Grohl marks his return on a Queens record after 10 plus years, providing drums on about half the tracks. The rest consists of now former drummer Joey Costillo, although his drumming is fairly low in the mix. Other guest artists include the previously mentioned Trent Reznor, Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner, and even Sir Elton John. These guest spots are all good additions, even if they aren’t radical contributions.
…Like Clockwork isn’t the most easily digestible rock album on the market. It will probably take most people a few listens before they fully take in the different sounds and varying emotions. Once they do, however, the majority of them should find enough things to like here, latching onto the trippy nature of the mellower songs, the heaviness of the more straightforward rock songs, or appreciating the album as a whole.
© June 4th, 2013
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