Queens of the Stone Age | Villains

7/10 Hard rock antiheroes
Look up ‘Joshua Michael Homme’ in the great rock’n’roll dictionary*, and you’d be likely to find the description; ‘world’s most prolific music maker’. While others are out there dropping in and out of rehab, collaborating with Mark Ronson, or, god forbid, selling out and making a Christmas album, the coolest front man since Elvis effortlessly churns out some of the most palatable hard rock tunes for everyone – including people who don’t like hard rock tunes.
As it turns out, Brit super-producer Ronson is on board for QOTSA’s 7th long player (hey two outta three ain’t bad), and in all fairness, his Midas touch pop sensibilities actually give a groovy playfulness to Homme’s sinister American anti-hero persona. As a result, Villains feels sharp and focused, delivering a clutch of razor sharp tunes that showcase all the best facets of his songwriting; groovy, creepy and earsplitting yet with a more universal appeal last seen on 2002’s memorable Songs For The Deaf.
Ex Mars Volta cohort Jon Theodore is on drum detail for the lion’s share of the record (a formidable stand-in for Foo Fighting Dave Grohl), providing the backbone for Homme to build his trademark muscular riffs and subtly sinister vocals around – best demonstrated on the barnstorming curtain-raiser “Feet Don’t Fail Me” and burlesque “Un-Reborn Again”. The funky keyboard hooks of “Fortress”, and the retro rock of “Head Like A Haunted House” remind us of the late 90s QOTSA sound, while “The Evil Has Landed” takes 70’s hit “American Woman” riffery as its starting point and turns things inside out to glorious effect.
The whole thing exudes confidence – the kind that comes with over two decades of the band’s kingpin rarely putting a foot wrong. Such is the case here – Villains is many things – but most of all it’s just a really great rock’n’roll record.
Dan Ashcroft
(*not an actual thing)
Like this? Try these:

Arctic MonkeysHumbug
Homme-produced desert trip for Sheffield’s favourite chavs.

Them Crooked VulturesThem Crooked Vultures
“Hi, is that John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin? Would you like to join our band?” – Dave Grohl.

Eagles of Death MetalPeace Love Death Metal
Distinctly un-death metalish effort from Le Bataclan survivors.

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