Queens Of The Stone Age - Queens Of The Stone Age CD (Loosegroove)
Queens Of The Stone Age is an (all-male) trio, a new band created as a vehicle for ex-Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme. Although Kyuss hailed from Palm Desert, CA, after the band broke up Homme relocated to the then-happening scene (at least according to the PR) of Seattle, a move which seems to have worked out okay for him at least as far as the making connections/networking shtick--he's since toured as a second guitarist for the Screaming Trees, and his new band's debut album is being released through Loosegroove, a label owned by one of the Pearl Jam dudes (I think it's Stone Gossard, but don't hold me to that). Despite the new NW buds he's made (who are basically employing him) for the Queens OTSA rhythm section Homme reached into his past and picked out drummer Alfredo Hernandez, who played on the final Kyuss album, and bassist Nick Oliveri, who was on the first two Kyuss albums.
Though presented as a 'band', Queens Of The Stone Age (really, Kyuss wasn't a great band name, but this is the best one he could come up with?) is obviously Homme's show from front to back: in addition to his trademark detuned guitar riffs, he takes over the lead vocals and even plays the bass--the album was recorded before Oliveri was asked to join the band. Obviously the main draw here is going to be the chance for the few Kyuss fans that are still floating around to hear the new project from three ex-members of that band, but there's no clear reason presented here why anyone else should search out this music. The songs are mostly just flimsy frameworks seemingly constructed to support the guitarwork, and Homme's playing isn't sufficiently interesting to plug the holes: there are some catchy, well-played riffs here and there, but certainly nothing that takes my breath away or even holds my attention for more than a couple of bars at a time. For every interesting bit there are two, three, or four clichéd parts, leading me to wonder if Homme didn't simply take on too much responsibility--I mean, it takes a lot of creativity to write, arrange, sing, and play a good album essentially by yourself. Homme's clearly not completely comfortable with the singing role, but the songs are definitely the most glaring weak spot. A lot of this record is just lame. For Kyuss freaks only, and even then I have to wonder how many will feel let down. Consider yourself warned. -Aaron J. Poehler