Queens Of The Stone Age - Villains

Queens Of The Stone Age Villains cover
Queens Of The Stone Age
Getting high on paint fumes from a wooden windowpane I just finished repainting to protect from the elements, I’m trying too hard to figure out, what place QOTSA are trying to occupy in the modern music scene and who they could be taking their cues from… and I’m dazed and confused and no it’s not Zeppelin.
With only Homme having remained a constant member (albeit tied up in way to many side activities) and despite the line up having remained fairly consistent in the past decade, QOTSA had taken rather the back seat, with only two album in the current decade a fact that might have also something to do with a health scare he had in the late 00s and or his numerous other musical diversions.
“Villains” while remaining recognizably QOTSA, feels also a bit different probably more at ease with it’s non rock elements and better for them. There’s a fair bit of new wave mannerisms, songs that could have rather easily fit in a Tin Machine/ Bowie album… or an Iggy one, with whom Homme did collaborate recently anyway, rockabilly and dance/electronica elements, all aligned and attuned to work, with Q’s idiosyncrasy.
“Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” has a long underwhelming intro that suddenly gets much louder and funkier and feels like more epic Bowie, with a disco groove in the background and a manlier delivery.
“The Way You Used to Do” is a rock number that would have worked well in the context of Iggy, only a bit more modern…
“Domesticated Animals” begins with an ascending intro riff that has you expecting the greatest rock n roll track ever and then… it doesn’t quite happen, a stentorian – almost Eldrich-esque delivery, over some mechanical percussion and boring melodies, falls rather flat. A crescendo past the third minute gets diluted in the sameness of the rest of the track, unfortunately.
“Fortress” feels like U2 done badly, or U2 of more recent times, or both, I guess…
“Head Like a Haunted House” has it’s rockabilly and proto-punk sensibilities, feeling like the illegitimate lovechild between Gene Vincent and the Dead Kennedys. Go figure.
“Un-reborn Again” feels like it could belong to a more experimental Bowie album, with a bit of good faith and a lot of bad acid.
“Hideaway” is the most britpop track of the album, not that this fact makes it good or bad, it mostly gets that characterization because of the lazy passe vocals that feel more Primal Scream than QOTSA.
“The Evil Has Landed” is similar, but zanier with a fuzzier, noisier riff… just a bit not as good…
Finally, “Villains of Circumstance” is a pretty masterful piece which while channeling its bitter sweetness manages to offer a pretty lyrical chorus.
For all intends and purposes this might be the most important album that QOTSA have done, apart from the first few that really put them on the map. Not too bad, then.