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Queens Of The Stone Age
Songs For The Deaf

"K-L-O-N, Los Angeles. Klone Radio: We play the songs that sound more like everyone else than anyone else." The Queens Of The Stone Age (QOTSA) radio show is on. Comrades Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri have pulled in singer Mark Lanegan and drummer (yes!) Dave Grohl (one of the best drummers in rock! Fact.) for their third attempt. Plus a bunch of friendly weirdos for additional sounds and rhythms. Tune in to radio QOTSA.

QOTSA hit it with the Rated R album. Now they have to prove they can handle mass appeal. Seems like they couldn't care less, doing everything their style and way. Not compromising. QOTSA sort of picked up where Nirvana exited. Tough riff rock (as much into punkish-ness than hard-rock. Hard-rock, yes, but with smart vocals!) with melodic pop hooks interferring the aggro. Nirvana, yes, but also Soundgarden. And of course some classic (hard) rock gods/godfathers from some decades way back.

So, what about Songs For The Deaf then? Quite good, actually. In fact very good. But not brilliant, and not as good as Rated R. At least that's my gut feeling for the moment. But it gives great pleasure to hear QOTSA's monster riff-o-rama paired with the melodic "pop" sensibility. The album starts quite monstrous with You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire, before flipping in the fab single choise No One Knows. Great song. Great playing. With its tight rhythms, shifting dynamics, rumbling basslines, and smashing guitars. Then First It Giveth is up. A massive wall of sound comes forth, showing the brilliance of Grohl's drumming. This song is a perfect "picture" of QOTSA's soundgarden at its most blooming: thick layers of buzzing rawk combined with melodic elegance.

But despite a line of good songs there are also weaker elements (I find A Song For The Dead to be a too straight hard-rock song), even fillers (such as the screamadelic Six Shooter?). Hangin' Tree with Lanegan singing is great. The Foo Fighters-sounding powerpopper Go With The Flow is extremely catchy, and so is Another Love Song. All in all I'm satisfied, but I expected more. Am I too demanding or what? Well, yes; there isn't any Better Living Through Chemistry here.

And that stoner thing? To quote Josh Homme from an interview given to CDNow: ".. [it] sounds like some fake marketing tool for people who are stoned enough to wish they were in Sabbath." Catch the wild bunch on the road over the next months. Maybe Dave Grohl pops by when/if he and his Foos visit the same neighborhoods...

PS! It seems like QOTSA switch drummers in a tempo which can make us compare Spinal Tap to, uh, The Rolling Stones...

Copyright © 2002 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Queens Of The Stone Age articles/reviews: ...Like Clockwork, Brixton Academy, London, UK, 13.06.01, Era Vulgaris.

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