…Like Clockwork feels like the band is wiping the slate clean and trying to find its voice all over again.
Review by David Feltman
There’s nothing “like clockwork” about the Queens of the Stone Age’s sixth album. Aside from the fact that the band’s hiatus made this the longest period between albums, there’s a grinding gears sound to the newest release that’s far from the proficient ticking of a veteran band.
…Like Clockwork actually opens with the sounds of something being broken before launching into the warbled and over-distorted dissonance of “Keep Your Eyes Peeled.” The whole effect is like a busted, unwound music box that is just freaking creepy when pared with Josh Homme’s extraterrestrial tenor harmonizing with Scissor Sister Jake Shears falsetto.
Perhaps inspired by the collaborations of the Sound City soundtrack, Homme lists an impressive number of special guests, including: Trent Reznor, Jake Shears, Brody Dalle and Elton John. It’s notable that the creepy, warbly sound manifests the most on the tracks that feature these guests. Considering the addition of Dave Grohl back to the roster and the departure of band mates Zane Lowe and Joey Castillo, there seems to be a new, albeit alien, sound trying to emerge.
There is a measure of psychedelia still ingrained in the album’s spacey riffs, but the signature desert/stoner rock that has its roots back in Homme’s Kyuss days are less evident than ever. While it’s good to see the band branching out and trying new things the desert rock element is definitely missed. In many ways …Like Clockwork feels like the band is wiping the slate clean and trying to find its voice all over again. As Homme sings on the title track, “Holding on too long is just a fear of letting go…one thing that is clear, it’s all downhill from here.”