Queens Of The Stone Age

Era Vulgaris

Written by: PP on 27/06/2007 02:43:29

Queens Of The Stone Age is a band most people will have a love/hate relationship with. Josh Homme's intention has never been to repeat himself, which has shown through the band's constant change of style from album to album, making them a difficult band to be a fan of, but those appreciating a certain degree of depth and intelligence in their music have always found their ability to keep their own unique sound on each album intriguing. Their new album "Era Vulgaris" is their strangest and most experimental album yet, but even so it's unmistakably QOTSA, and at no point during the record could you point a finger at the band and say "Hey, that sounds like ". This ability to evolve while maintaining their own sound is one of the main reasons why this band is worshiped by so many and hated by equally many, where the latter tends to consist of people merely not being able to understand what Homme and co have been trying to achieve, namely independence from genre. And this, my dear dearers, is where "Era Vulgaris" succeeds like no other QOTSA album before.

The best way to describe the album is that it is really, really quirky. Opener "Turnin' On The Screw" is much slower than your brain realizes, and screws with your mind through its bizarrely eccentric main riff which seems to go up, then down, then to the side, all in the wrong order, but yet it works brilliantly. It is then followed by another (purposefully) low-production track, "Sick, Sick, Sick", which is probably the most accessible song on the disc despite its dirtily distorted guitars and unconventional vocal style. "I'm Designer" continues on the weirdo-line the band has set on by featuring what must be one of the strangest introductory guitar leads I've heard to date. The words that return to mind here are 'quirky - really quirky' again, and already by now it is impossible to determine a genre for "Era Vulgaris", simply because it is so many genres at once - while being none of those genres. Confused yet? Throw in a couple of weeping guitars on "Into The Hollow" and an almost industrial rave sound on "Misfit Love", and I don't blame you feeling confused, which I bet was Homme's goal all along. "Make It Wit Chu" is clearly inspired by soul, while "3's & 7's"'s mixture of Nirvana-style 3-chord distortion and wailing leads sees the band experiment with a sound buried long time ago.

I suppose you could criticize the album for being unfocused, but I think that's taking the easy way out and is basically a sign of you not really understanding that Homme doesn't give a crap about your opinion. If you should point out the most original and unique piece of music in 2007, it would seem far-fetched to say anything else than "Era Vulgaris" - the album that is all genres and not sortable at once. There have been rumours that Homme was hanging out with Trent Reznor (NIN) and Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) during the writing and recording of this album, and listening through the effort, that's one of the ideas that doesn't seem far-fetched at all.


Download: Turnin' On The Screw, Make It Wit Chu, Sick Sick Sick
For the fans of: I'll buy you a beer if you can name a band that sounds like them
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.06.2007

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