By Phin Upham
Tracing their roots back to ’98, the Queens are one of the few bands who can still sell out an arena. Counting themselves among great acts like the Foo Fighters, Rolling Stones and Black Keys, the Queens of the Stone Age can rock an audience into a trance or shake them out of their seats.
Despite the music review community’s best efforts to apply a label to the charismatic band, they seem to defy genre conventions. Their long melodies mixed with grungy guitar solos and wicked bass lines have been called “stoner rock” and “desert rock.” Both terms are not wrong, but the band seems to embody so much more.
The newest album “Like Clockwork” — the band’s first release in six years and their first number one hit on the Billboard Top 200 list — seems especially emblematic of their style.
With inspiration from Pink Floyd and plenty of Southern rock, the album screams and hums its way through ten tracks of varying melody. The music videos detail a post apocalyptic world full of the ghastly, grungy sounds you find in the background of the album. Songs like “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” will evoke memories of Soundgarden at their most surreal, and plenty of songs can trace their roots back to George Harrison inspired guitar riffs.
Surprising guests on the album include the return of Dave Grohl, and long time fans may recognize the back up vocals of Nick Oliveri on a few tracks. Elton John also cameo’d on “Fairweather Friends,” one of the more melodious tracks on the album. You’ll be belting that one out when you’re driving around and no one’s watching.
The roots are still there, led by Homme’s bellows. As he “oo” and “aa’s” his way through his part, the band backs him up with that same dirty rock we’ve come to know and love. Without question, Homme has proven with this release that Queens of the Stone Age still has unexplored territory left to discover.