Let me try something different here by focusing on my two favorite songs on this new album by Queens Of The Stone Age. For this we head towards the middle of the album with the great and powerful “My God Is The Sun”. For while I’m far from being a religious person, I enjoy the power of the sun due to my upbringing in Hawai’i so just as people back home value and respect the power of the ocean, many also know the value of that golden orb up in the sky, and what Josh Homme and the band do is take the perceived power of the sun and squeeze out some juicy revolution. The percussion that opens the song and is heard sporadically throughout can be considered the end product of that sun exposure, one that becomes a celebration of life and one another. Then there’s “Kalopsia”, which begins as a beautiful rock ballad in the vein of Todd Rundgren before getting into these wickedly crunchy bits that begins with guitar feedback, anticipating the bite of electricity that’s about to begin, resulting in something that some might hear as being Bowiesque.
That’s only a part of what makes …Like Clockwork (Matador), well, work. Queens Of The Stone Age have always been diverse in the music they create, whether it’s something close to being thrash or borderline punk, or leaning on country or soul. In “Like Clockwork”, it sounds as if Homme was bringing in the power of Beck and HIM of Powerpuff Girls by vocalizing with a falsetto voice, initially beginning with him playing the piano before the rest of the band come in to take the song (and the album) home. “If I Had A Tail” has a slight Neil Young feel too where the group plays in the studio, the equipment capturing the moment and things sound spontaneous and without the bullshit factor adding any fake mystiques before the guitars and bass come in to beat each other up, before leading to a drink outside the studio door. “Fairweather Friends” brings in Elton John to help out on piano and vocals, adding his harmonies to Homme’s lead and making things sound grand and efficacious while containing these small pop elements that some may not notice until a few repeat listens. All of this leads to the song’s eventual conclusion, which is funny to me because a moment like that is not meant to be heard but was included just because. “Smooth Sailing” gets smooth and funky, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it moved a lot of people at their live shows to dance and seriously get down.
With the departure of drummer Joey Castillo from the band, Dave Grohl was asked to contribute to the recording sessions of …Like Clockwork, so one can add this to the incredible discography Grohl has created for himself. It has that power that he is known for and definitely adds a nice aura to the music presented here. Overall, while this is a new QOTSA album, it almost sounds like a backyard or basement jam, just some friends and associates gathered around with a beverage of choice, simply playing what the moon, sun, stars, clouds, and sky brings to everyone. Under the persona now known as …Like Clockwork, it’s simply as edgy as they’ve always been, but perhaps more focused even though the creation of these recordings were done during unpredictable times. It seems once Homme and everyone else were locked into place, they were committed to creating this 10-song persona until it could present its own beauty and walk away in elegance. This album is merely the public looking at those heels and seamed stockings, wishing we could hold on to her forever.