'There's something of the night about them'
Here we have vocals redolent with love but underpinned by smoke filled bars and whiskey drenched nights. 'This Lullaby' opens up the album and as the story time feeling fades they throw out some great riffs in 'Medication', not only managing a seamless change over, but also the other morphs that this song goes through with superb skill and an undercurrent of disturbing musical imagery. The vocals are particularly excellent at drawing you into being part of the song. 'Everybody Knows That You Are Insane' continues this mind messing miasma amid aggressive guitar playing, countered by the vocal tone. The first of these two makes you wonder why you're not on medication whilst the second makes you understand that we all are just that bit crazy.
'Tangled Up In Plaid' is a track that appears to work on two different levels at the same time with the vocals and music tugging in slightly different directions- there's a classically styled piece of rock guitar in this number. 'Burn The Witch' piles on the darkness prevalent in this album from the whispered beginning to the tribal drumming and guitar shadowed vocals. 'In My Head' has a fist in the face bass line and 'Little Sister' explodes with raunchy riffs that defy a lot of the music that is around currently. The good old guitar solo proves itself as integral a part of this kind of sound as it has always been, but too may have forgotten about, or not had the skill to include. It's not hard to understand why this has been released as a single. There is a folksy moment with 'I Never Came', but 'Someone's In The Wolf' is an axe driven number with bass and drum work that could accompany the apocalypse- a very dark, hard and heavy one.
'The Blood Is Love' has a deceptive start which leads you into a number that has you feeling like you are being chased through the maze in some old time horror flick. Not one to play to send the kiddies to sleep. 'Skin On Skin' with its wailing guitars and drawn out bass are strangely complemented by vocals that sound as if they are being played at a different speed. There is something lurking in this song that is truly terrifying. 'Broken Box' weaves harsh music with softer vocals and creates a tapestry of melody. 'You Got A Killer Scene There, Man...' oozes blues laden sexual drama that is shit hot. And 'Long Slow Goodbye' has those almost fragile vocals matched in with softer guitar and percussion work. There is the constant feeling here that this number is about to break out and indeed does so but in a gentle way before being pulled back in line.
'Like A Drug' is as hypnotic as its title suggests. Beautiful pin point guitar work and interwoven vocals that many would give their right arms to reproduce. Think 'Santana' and you on track. The album is rounded off by 'Precious And Grace' in an axe crazed heavy, rhythmic blaze.
Queens Of The Stone Age have produced an album that should be in anyone's collection. It's stylish and manages to treat its content with a mature approach. Extremely well written and performed with a beauty that is sinfully ethereal without ever loosing the hard hitting rock style that pervades throughout. The only drawback is that the ability they display to drag you into a realm of such disturbing vision is so good that it goes into overdrive at some points.