Queens of the Stone Age Villains
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- Released: August 25, 2017
- Originally Released: 2017
- Label: Matador Records
Rolling Stone4 stars out of 5 -- "The single 'The Evil Has Landed' squalls over brutally clipped beats, suggesting latter-day Led Zep if they'd wrapped their head around New Wave."
Spin"[A]ll of a sudden, QOTSA have context that works, one degree from the likes of Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys as platonic ideals for modern rock: catchy, not cloying, masculine but never toxic, humorous without irony, cool but certainly not trying too hard..."
Magnet"Mostly, they crank the tube amps to overload, letting the harmonic bombast spill over everything as they play with dynamics and hew close to being America's only practitioners of motorik."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.844 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's both organic and future-facing....A true metamorphosis, this album sees Queens Of The Stone Age shedding an old identity to discover new ways of playing the same old song."
NME (Magazine)4 stars out of 5 -- "The bequiffed high priest of desert rock has always imbued his full-throttle stoner sound with a certain amount of hip-shaking sass, but on VILLAINS, he truly lets his dancing shoes take the floor."
Paste (magazine) - "Homme's rock 'n' roll instincts are still as keen as ever....20 years in the band still sounds amazingly energized."
- 1.Feet Don't Fail Me
- 2.The Way You Used to Do
- 3.Domesticated Animals
- 5.Head Like a Haunted House
- 6.Un-Reborn Again
- 8.The Evil Has Landed
- 9.Villains of Circumstance
Personnel: Eric Gorfain, Daphne Chen (violin); Leah Katz (viola); Richard Dodd (cello); James King (saxophone); Fred Martin, Matt Sweeney, Nikka Costa, Tai Phillips, Faith Matovu (background vocals).
Recording information: United Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
It takes nearly a minute for Villains to begin its slow ascent from the murk and even longer before the clenched funk of "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" clicks in, a deliberateness that suggests Josh Homme has supreme confidence in the seventh album from Queens of the Stone Age. Perhaps some of this swagger flows in Homme's blood, perhaps it stems from QOTSA finally reaching Billboard's pole position with 2013's .Like Clockwork, but there's an undeniable assurance to Villains that surely has something to do with the band -- or specifically Homme, who is the only constant in QOTSA's career -- knowing precisely who they are as they close out their second decade. To that end, the hiring of Mark Ronson -- the man whose star rose with Amy Winehouse and who's sustained his fame through Bruno Mars -- as producer feels like the move of a group who knows no outside influence will dilute their music, and Villains proves this to be true. QOTSA doesn't come to Ronson, Ronson comes QOTSA, sharpening their attack and adding spooky grace notes to the margins. On these asides, QOTSA conjures the dark magic that's been their calling card since the start, but where .Like Clockwork gained strength from its foreboding, Villains feels designed to lift spirits. For one, it's filled with ravers and boogies, alternating between taut vamps and louche glam grooves. Homme goes so far as to tip his stove pipe hat to Marc Bolan on "Un-Reborn Again," one of a few classic rock nods scattered throughout the album. As classic as Villains can sound -- and there's no doubting that Homme and company pledge allegiance to the sounds and styles patented in the '70s -- it feels fresh due to execution. At this stage, Queens of the Stone Age don't have many new tricks in their bag, but their consummate skill -- accentuated by the fact that this is the first QOTSA album that features just the band alone, not even augmented by Mark Lanegan -- means they know when to ratchet up the tempo, when to slide into a mechanical grind, and when to sharpen hooks so they puncture cleanly. All that makes Villains a dark joy, a record that offers visceral pleasure in its winking menace. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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