QOTSAs Like Clockwork: First Impression

qotsa-video-fuck-you-whateverAfter listening to the new long player by QOTSA called Like Clockwork three times in a row I have to say it’s growing on me.  I’m not fully convinced it’s their best(that still remains solidly with insert favorite QOTSA album here).  For me Lullabies To Paralyze and Era Vulgaris remain high points in Josh Homme’s musical career.  His forward movement since his days as a guitarist in Kyuss, to QOTSAs tattooed and drunk debut, all the way up to 2009 and fronting a band along side John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl is impressive to say the least.  I haven’t always been a fan, though.  It wasn’t until I heard “The Fine Art of Keeping A Secret” off of 2000s Rated R that I took notice.  Of course Songs For The Deaf made them the rock Gods they seem to have become now, but I only really liked about half that album(sorry).  Here’s the thing:  I just never took Josh Homme all that seriously.  I saw him as this meathead that wrote songs about hard-ons, getting drunk, and songs you write while on various hallucinogenics.  While the songs were plenty heavy and thick as a 64 oz steak, I felt the songs were pretty much narcotic dreams soundtracked by ZZ Top and Black Sabbath fanatics.  I’ve since changed my tune when it comes to Josh Homme.  The guy is a hell of a lot more versatile songwriter and musician than I ever gave him credit for.  Lullabies To Paralyze proved that.  Era Vulgaris solidified it.  Them Crooked Vultures?  Well, he was just showing off at that point.  That album was just sick in so many ways.  Which brings us up to 2013 and Like Clockwork.

This isn’t a review.  I’m only three listens in, but I can say with each listen I’m more fascinated with it.  Sonically it hangs in that middle ground between Lullabies dark production and Era’s clunky robot rock.  But with this new album it definitely sounds slicker.  Bigger sound.  Song-wise Homme opens Pandora’s musical box and has a mix of that robot rock he delved in on Era Vulgaris(“Smooth Sailing” kills), but “I Sat By The Ocean” almost has a straight up pop vibe. There’s some piano explorations on “The Vampyre Of Time And Memory” and album closer(and most ballad-like song QOTSA has ever put to tape) “Like Clockwork”.  The album is varied, for sure.  At times it was almost daunting, these mood swings.  But like I said, once you hit listen number three there’s a definite flow.  Josh Homme seems to be in a pondering mood with this record.  Lots of melancholy songs and lots of questions regarding death.  I suppose when you die and come back to life(as Homme indeed did in 2010 during a routine knee surgery) you start to look at things differently.  You appreciate daytime and breathing in and out a little more.  It comes through on this album.

Again this isn’t a review.  It’s merely a first impression.  Expect an actual review very soon.  For now, know Queens Of The Stone Age haven’t disappointed this time around.

8 thoughts on “QOTSAs Like Clockwork: First Impression

  1. I’ve seen them play twice and apart from God (Mark Lanegan) they were really average both times. I have up on them after ‘Songs for the deaf’.

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      1. Thought that was a British saying.

        I haven not seen them live, but I will take your word for it. I could see where they could be great or “meh”, at least back in their recreational drug days.

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  2. 3 listens, huh? maybe more by now? sounds to me like somebody is enjoying the new release. there’s your review right there mr. word slinger. tee hee hee

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      1. yes. i really like it. i like how complex and mature it is. after waiting 7 years i would have to say i’m not disappointed in the least.

        “…you start to look at things differently. you appreciate daytime and breathing in and out a little more. it comes through on this album”. well put.

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  3. I wasn’t really thrilled with Lullabies or Era Vulgaris. I think there are some great songs on those albums, but they just seemed a bit too polished, a bit too distant from the Desert Sessions, Eagles of Death Metal, Songs for the Deaf, dark, loose, restrained rager version of Josh Homme that I adore. Like Clockwork is still a bit polished sounding for my taste, but I really appreciate the darker mood vs. the more slapstick/tongue in cheek stuff from Lullabies and Era. I think you nailed it when you said this album wont pass (insert favorite QOTSA album here). For me that album is Songs for the Deaf (Lanegan love included), but Like Clockwork is certainly formidable, and I think some of these songs (If I had a Tail, I Appear Missing, …Like Clockwork) are going to be pretty impressive to hear live. You’re right that they can be great/meh live though. I think most of the best bands are…it’s hard to bring genuine energy every night, and venue certainly plays a role I think. I saw them at the Murat a few years ago, and that was pretty so/so, but the Blue Note in Columbia, MO (a theater type venue) was a different story for sure.

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