CD / DL / LP
It is, of course, genius.
This is rock music chopped up and put through a 21st century blender and yet also the best Bowie comeback album that Bowie nearly made.
All the familiar hallmarks are there but there is an added sheen- a lot of the stuff that we love of QOTS has gone- those stub toed ruffs and that desert rock lysergic madness but it has been replaced by a superior grinding odd pop that really works.
First things first, Josh Homme has one of those great voices- full of sex and danger and it drips like a smooth elixir as it drapes its way around the songs giving the album a very commercial yet still slightly sinister coating.
This is a long way from the stoner rock that birthed them, although the slightly stoned feel of the form still drapes itself around the songs.
There is still that slightly lazy tug of the groove that drags you into a supine state, there’s also a lot of seventies glam drama about the album and a real dramatic sense of songwriting that takes the Queen’s template and pushes it somewhere else. This is a dramatic and thrilling album that is full of possibility and danger and atmosphere without ever having to really crank it up.
Opening cut Keep Your Eyes Peeled sets the stall with all detuned bass and spectral vocals from Homme as the song slopes in with time honoured Queens style and ends with a great climax and a killer guitar lick, I Sat By The Ocean is one of those stop start riffs they do so well- a grinding groove with a sassy neo pop sheen that really works, the old lizard as I mentioned before, is in great voice on this track and the whole album and the quicksilver larynx really dominating proceedings. The Vampyre Of Time And Memory is a lush ballad that should not really work but sounds great- like the dawn cracking over a wild LA night and it has that kind of piece of introspection. If I Had A Tail mooches in on one of those metronomic Charlie Watts grooves as the band get ragged and Stonesy on top, My God Is The Sun is classic Queens- killer guitar riff and great breakdowns, Kolapsia drools pure Bowie over a collapsing riff- itt’s like Ziggy getting jiggy for the 21st century in a song that drips all the drama of classic Bowie Fairweather Friends sounds like the ghost of Mick Ronson back amongst us with all guitar guns blazing, Smooth Sailing is a funky strut of number- Homme’s sure knows how to get his guitar to strut and his falsetto on the song is pure gold. I Appear Missing is spooky and melancholic, and the album closer, …Like Clockwwork is another sumptuous ballad- a falsetto over a plaintive piano and the sound of a songwriter who has been released from any remaining creative shackles and making the music he should.
So many moods perfectly executed- this is a great rock album and sets the standard for the now.