The signature sound of Queens of the Stone Age was solely made attainable by way of an uncommon technique of elimination. The group misplaced its really wild aspect, and any traces of punk and steel, following the justifiable dismissal of bassist Nick Oliveri and after Dave Grohl wrapped up his transient tenure as their full-time drummer. Mark Lanegan took away the bluesy gravitas when he departed the band and this mortal coil.
Consequently, the music of Josh Homme and co. was diminished right down to a viscous cocktail of darkwave pop, boogie rock, and glam that has stored them in good stead for the higher a part of a decade. And it’s immediately recognizable. It takes as little as the primary few seconds of “Obscenery,” the primary observe on their new album In Times New Roman… to clock the album as a QOTSA effort. The guitar that’s been processed to sound like alien weapons or industrial equipment. The splashy but stiff drum tone. The dry, airless manufacturing. There may be certainly a much less fraught adjective to make use of for his or her music, however the one one that matches is formulaic. Homme, the band, and mixing engineer Mark Rankin have perfected an aesthetic. To fuck with it after a six yr wait between LPs might need scored some headlines however certainly would have misplaced them a bit of their fanbase.
Not that Homme appears significantly anxious about that. The 50-year-old musician has far larger points to wrestle with proper now. 4 years in the past, his marriage to Brody Dalle fell aside, leading to an acrimonious custody battle over their two children. He’s additionally misplaced plenty of shut mates, together with Lanegan, Taylor Hawkins, and Anthony Bourdain. In latest weeks, Homme revealed that he underwent surgical procedure to take away a cancerous growth. Oh, and there’s additionally the small matter of our world society feeling on the breaking point and chaos.
Homme siphoned all of that ache and turmoil into In Instances New Roman…, laying it naked in a number of the most private songs of his lengthy profession. On “Paper Machete,” he spits some venom in the direction of his ex, questioning aloud, “Does your each single relation finish in ache and distress?” and calling her a “coward.” Homme matches the tenor of his phrases with a nasty snarl of guitars and a solo that feels like a laser etching out a mandala on his spinal column.
Surrounding that music are 9 extra that finds Homme directing his lyrical gaze to both the broader world or deeply inside. The latter makes for the higher materials on this album. Homme casts himself as a modern-day Sisyphus. Amid the stripper pole groove of “Damaging House” and the pulsating ’70s sleaze of “Emotion Illness,” he seems resigned to — and nearly appreciates — his destiny as a mortal being able to being bodily and emotionally scarred. Going deeper nonetheless is “Carnavoyeur,” a blunt explication of despair and the belief that, as Homme groans out over a sludgy backbeat, even on the peak of his success, he has to reckon with the truth that “there are not any extra mountains to climb.”
There’s a way that Homme and the band closed ranks within the creation of the brand new album. QOTSA produced the majority of the album on their very own, recording it at Homme’s dwelling studio. And in contrast to most of the earlier data, there are few exterior contributions barring the addition of some strings and a contact of background vocals (Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders pops as much as sing on “Emotion Illness”).