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Queens of the Stone Age - Villains (Album Review)

Monday, 18 September 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

Now approaching the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut, Queens of the Stone Age have largely jettisoned the brooding stoner rock core that dominated their early albums. On their seventh studio LP, ‘Villains’, the echoes of classic rock remain but they have been coated in a dance-funk infusion introduced by Mark Ronson.

The producer’s stamp is all over the record, but Josh Homme has also been influenced by the here and now. “Now is all you’ll ever get, and there’s no reason for you to wait,” he says. His urgency was shaped in part by the tragic events that befell his other band, Eagles of Death Metal, in his absence at the Bataclan in November 2015.

Appearing like Flash Gordon, the excellent Feet Don’t Fail Me Now opens amid Black Mountain-style keys, with its juicy riff combining with a danceable beat for an intoxicating number. It finds Queens moving on and giving doubters the middle finger in the process.

The momentum continues on funky lead single The Way You Used To Do. Its urgent riff blends with Ronson’s influence, while the record’s second single, The Evil Has Landed, utilises more massive, chunky guitars.

There is more classic rock worship as Un-born Again twists T-Rex verses like molten metal, its lyrics even namechecking Telegram Sam’s Jungle Faced Jake, who here becomes Acid Faced Jake.

The overtly personal Fortress marries a beguiling chorus with a prominent groove and Homme’s words reaffirm the fact that people don’t need their everyday masks to cope with life. An injection of punk follows, with Head Like a Haunted House utilising energetic, choppy guitars. Hideaway sounds light in direct comparison to standard Queens fare, but its gentle synths create an aura of mystique.

While these new sounds won’t appeal to all fans, Homme clearly couldn’t give a damn. He’s still doing things his way, with Ronson this time, and ‘Villains’ represents a thoroughly interesting stylistic hybrid. It doesn’t quite match ‘Songs For The Deaf’ (2002) and ‘…Like Clockwork’ (2013) - lacking peaks like No One Knows and I Sat By The Ocean - but it deserves to shine. It’s an album that will grow and grow.

Queens Of The Stone Age Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat November 18 2017 - LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
Sun November 19 2017 - MANCHESTER Arena
Tue November 21 2017 - LONDON O2 Arena
Thu November 23 2017 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Fri November 24 2017 - DUBLIN 3Arena

Click here to compare & buy Queens Of The Stone Age Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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