It's been six years since Queens put out a record under their own name - Josh Homme has been largely bed hopping with Them Crooked Vultures while QOTSA sits at home and stares at the clock wondering if he's coming back from the grocery store soon - and I think somewhere along the line the band has essentially forgotten that they are a rock band. This mess of an album is meandering, unfocused, and sounds like everyone listened to Strawberry Fields Forever on repeat and decided to make a louder version of that. It also sounds like it was recorded stone cold sober; which, for a band like Queens that had a reputation of hard living, booze and drug fueled hellions, is a death knell for their acerbic, devil may care brand of desert rock.
For the uninitiated, Rated R was a band finding its stride even as neu-metal was hooting like a baboon and people had inexplicably decided to make Fred Durst a wealthy man. Songs for the Deaf conjured up images of the California desert, its crackpot riffing somehow coherent, with Part Man, All Animal Dave Grohl beating his drums like they owned him money throughout the entire record, a massive coup at the time. Lullabies to Paralyze was more muted production-wise, though the sinister still lurked behind every track. Era Vulgaris was a thunderous portrait of the band's LA life and fame.
And now we get this slapdash piece of crap, years in coming and apparently hours in the making. I haven't been this disappointed in a record since Young Widows put out "Old Wounds" and followed it with "In and Out of Youth and Lightness" because they were upset people thought they were ripping off the Jesus Lizard.
This record is fucking boring. When you stick a bunch of these dudes in a studio with nothing but time and a handful of ideas, sometimes genius comes out of it - the Desert Sessions records are wildly inconsistent but occasionally turn up some remarkable gems. But this is a fucking Queens record, or at least that's what it says on the tin. There should be boombast! Gravity! Levity! Searing guitars! Dave Grohl is drumming on this one and he sounds like he showed up after glugging a quart of Nyquil.
If I'd known I was going to be waiting six years for this abominable record to dig itself out of the shallow grave it was presumably buried in before Josh Homme realized he had contractual obligations to put out records once in a while, I would have cherished my time with the (truly astonishing) Them Crooked Vultures record that little bit more, like I would have hugged my child that little bit tighter if I'd known someone was going to run them over the next day. Unfortunately, everyone is now sober-sounding, boring, and out of ideas. Most of all they've forgotten how to rock, something needed so desperately when most modern bands dress like they're in Buffalo Springfield and want their music to be as inoffensive (and therefore completely unmemorable) as possible. The Queens are dead, boys.
Fuck this record.