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CD of The Week

Week of 8/28/17

    Queens of the Stone Age - Villains (Matador)

    Josh Homme has always been a highly prolific artist, with an extensive list of projects throughout 20+ years of music making. We heard from Homme just last year, helping craft Iggy Pop's excellent (and final?) album Post Pop Depression. But he always comes back home to his main gig in Queens of the Stone Age.

    Villains is the seventh QOTSA album and by now, you know more or less what you're getting: heavy tunes full of buzzy guitars and chunky grooves. This time around, the ballyhooed curveball is producer Mark Ronson, whose involvement feels quite overhyped. Any fans who thought the super--producer would make QOTSA churn out an album of nine "Uptown Funks" should check out his lengthy and eclectic resume.

    The record kicks off with the ominous buildup of "Feet Don't Fail Me," which explodes into a familiar QOTSA stomp and some rare, very specific autobiographical lyrics from Homme, who sings, "I was born in the desert, May 17 in '73/When the needle hit the groove/I commence to moving/I was chasing what's calling me." The boogying lead single "The Way You Used To Do" reminds you that Homme is also one-half of Eagles of Death Metal.

    The zippy "Head Like a Haunted House" has a clear Cramps influence and one of those classic, clever Homme turns of phrase ("Xanadus and xanadont's). In "Domesticated Animals" you can hear some of Iggy's vocal stylings seeping into Homme's. Another highlight is "The Evil Has Landed," featuring a strutting Led Zeppelin stutter-step guitar that gives way to an epic jam. Villians winds down with the straightforward love song "Villains of Circumstance," written for Homme & Brody Dalle's children.

    Villains contains some expansive, moody jams but is a bit stingy with the memorable hooks, which again is something you would've thought Ronson would've specialized in. There are only nine tracks here and six of them cross the five-minute mark. While not the sleek album some may have expected, Villains is another powerful entry into the Queens discography.

    Queens of the Stone Age return to Philadelphia at Festival Pier on Thursday, September 7th.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive Villains on CD. Click here for details.
    Review by Joey O.

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