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QOTSA - "...LIKE CLOCKWORK",
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This review is from: Like Clockwork (Audio CD)
It's been six years since QOTSA last released a studio album the much more experimental sounding "Era Vulgaris", in the time since the band have kept themselves busy by re-mastering and reissuing their first two studio albums, as well as touring for both, especially great was the intimate tour for their self-titled debut which they would play in its entirety as well as that the various members kept themselves busy with side projects, front man Josh Homme formed Them Crooked Vultures along with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones while Keyboardist/guitarist Dean Fertitia hooked up with Jack White in The Dead Weather. However the band has been promising a new album since late 2010 and it's only now that Josh Homme admits that the band was struggling for ideas and for what direction to go in. Homme freely admits phoning Trent Reznor and asking for a bit of guidance to get everything kick started, Reznor was soon followed by a whole cast of musicians and what we are left with is a ten track album that is a worthy addition to the QOTSA catalogue.
The first thing to say is that the vast array of musicians who have signed up for this don't take away from this being a QOTSA record in fact the return of Dave Grohl on drums for the six of the tracks only adds an extra dynamic to the sound. The album opens up with "Keep your Eyes Peeled" which features a big bluesy riff and some big industrial sounding beats, it's a song that twists and weaves between heavy and melodic and features the Scissor Sisters Jake Shears on background vocals, Shears also appears on the funky "Smooth Sailing" which has big falsetto delivery from Homme. One of the stand out tracks is the groove laden "If I Had A Tail" with its imaginative chorus and background vocals from long-time collaborator Mark Lanegan whose heavy haunting back ground vocal is unmistakable and has an outro featuring Alex Turner and Joshs wife Brody Dalle. Interestingly former bassist/vocalist Nick Oliveri also appears on the track as well as on "Fairweather Friends".
This is probably the most complete line up of QOTSA since 2002 with touring members Dean Fertita and Michael Shuman now making their first studio appearance along with long time member Troy Van Leeuwen, it's also safe to say that Homme isn't scared to give away some of the best guitar riffs and solos to Van Leeuwen and Fertita. Fertitia even gets to take centre stage for the lead riff on the pounding "My God Is The Sun". Trent Reznor makes his presence felt on two tracks the first being the brilliant "Kalopsia" which alternates between being dreamy and melodic and then being heavy with a crunching riff backed by the now departed Joey Castillo on drums, Reznors vocal kicks in at the 1.12 mark and changes the direction of the song. Reznor appears again on "Fairweather Friends" a song that is driven by the drumming of Grohl. The album closes out with the two longest tracks in "I appear Missing" which is followed by the splendid title track "...Like Clockwork" which has Homme stretching his vocal range and features a certain Elton John on piano.
It might have taking six long years for a follow up to "Era Vulgaris" but with "...Like Clockwork" QOTSA have delivered their most well rounded album since 2002's "Songs For The Deaf" and you just know that these songs will take on a life of their own once they hit the road.