Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

Album Review by Dave Kerr | 30 May 2013
Album title: …Like Clockwork
Artist: Queens of the Stone Age
Label: Matador
Release date: 3 Jun

From Josh Homme’s youth as a prodigious stoner rock visionary in Kyuss to the slick, guitar pop-skewing renaissance man we see at the helm of Queens today, the desert barons’ first LP in six years pauses like an anguished ‘Fuck, I’m 40!’ to stop and look around. Anyone still jonesing for another Feel Good Hit of the Summer might want to look the other way for the next 47 minutes.

With recording sessions reportedly thrown off course by the sudden departure of longest-serving tub-thumper Joey Castillo, …Like Clockwork emerges a varied beast, riddled with battle-damaged lyrics and a seductive darkness at its heart. And then there are the cameos: from the briefest Songs for the Deaf era reunion on Fairweather Friends, through understated contributions from the likes of Trent Reznor and James Lavelle to Sir Elton John himself, it's a formidable teamsheet.

Although their characteristic levity is barely detectable beneath the drama (besides the willfully playful Smooth Sailing), Queens' ability to thrill remains intact (If I Had A Tail swings in like a wrecking ball from on high) and as their impenetrable façade of Fonzarelli cool begins to slip, an almost operatic sensitive side begins to reveal itself (see the poignant piano-driven sign off, Homme pining 'One thing that is clear, it's all downhill from here,' as a ragged red curtain comes down for what one hopes is a short intermission before the third act). A mature, heart-on-sleeve epic, and an acute reminder that we’re still in the midst of a master.