Sunday, October 29, 2017

Queens of the Stone Age - Villains


Queens of the Stone Age have carved out a comfortable position as elder statesmen of rock. Nobody expects them to flip their sound on its head at every turn. They could, if they wanted, give it just enough of a  perfunctory tweak to avoid being accused of repeating themselves, but of course they don't want to do that. Josh Homme is a songwriter's songwriter, always seeking new approaches even after having worked within his idiom with one band or another for nearly 30 years. The knee-jerk reaction is to call Villains QOTSA's pop album, given that Mark Ronson is producer, but if that's the case, they've arrived at it on their own terms. The album is full of the serpentine twists that have become the band's stock in trade, and the more floor-ready beats recontextualise familiar QOTSA tropes without compromising the muscularity of Homme's riffs. The result is less "Uptown Funk" than decadent disco. Villains forgoes the band's tradition of inviting high profile guests, which is not a decision that the first and so far only band to unite Trent Reznor and Elton John in the studio would make lightly. It shows they don't need a lot of help to pull off stylistic shifts such as this one - not that there's any reason to doubt it.

Sex, War & Robots