QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
ROCK SURVIVORS EYE UP THE DANCEFLOOR, WITH MARK RONSON IN TOW.
Josh Homme finds the inner funk with help from über-producer Mark Ronson.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE VILLAINS MATADOR, OUT 25 AUGUST
Time and trends have had much the same effect on the traditional rock star as a starving lion has on a pack of gazelles in a David Attenborough documentary. Josh Homme isn’t quite the last man standing – not while Dave Grohl still has air in his lungs – but the herd is considerably thinner than it was when he launched Queens Of The Stone Age 20 years ago. The secret of their survival isn’t really a secret. Homme found a winning formula early on and has stuck to it: desert dry guitar, a rhythmic approach that’s more motorik than Motörhead, and Homme’s own too-cool-for-class croon. QOTSA’s seventh album wisely tweaks the recipe just enough to keep things spicy. The major twist this time is the presence of Mark Ronson as co-producer. Ronson coaxes the funkiness out of this unfunkiest of groups, most notably on the heavy metal-sex-disco of opener Feet Don’t Fail Me, an Uptown Funk for people who cut the sleeves off their T-shirts. How much influence he had on the gleefully malevolent T.Rex pastiche Un-Reborn Again, with its knowing references to “Skinny-Nose Jack” and “Acid-
RONSON COAXES THE FUNKINESS OUT OF THIS UNFUNKIEST OF GROUPS.
Face Jake”, is another matter. Where 2013’ s …Like Clockwork, recorded in the wake of an operation that nearly finished Homme off, came from a place of real pain, here he reverts to oblique type. “You keep your feelings locked away/Is it easier, does it make you feel safe?” he sings on the dislocated Fortress, neatly summing up his own MO. But then enigma has always been part of Queens Of The Stone Age’s appeal. It’s worked for them so far. Why change it now? HHHH DAVE EVERLEY Listen To: Feet Don’t Fail Me | Un-Reborn Again | Villains Of Circumstance
Queens Of The Stone Age: “Hailing a cab for five might be difficult up here, guys.”