Note: Them Crooked Vultures is Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss) on vocals/guitar, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) on bass and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) on drums.
Sound: Riff-heavy, rhythm-driven, hard-hitting rock with progressive, psychedelic and stoner tendencies and falsetto, hooky melodies. At times, their mix of psychedelic blues and falsetto vocals are reminiscent of Cream, but mostly this sounds like the kind of music we’ve come to expect from a Queens of the Stone Age album.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Scumbag Blues”; “New Fang”
Medium Rotation tracks: “Bandoliers”; “Interlude with Ludes”; “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I”; “Gunman”; “Caligulove”; “Elephants”
Recommended: It’s easy—and kinda lazy—to call Them Crooked Vultures a supergroup when, really, this is the next Queens of the Stone Age album. After all, QOTSA has always kind of been a “supergroup” anyway, with Josh Homme at the forefront (and for awhile Nick Oliveri was his co-conspirator) and marquee names like Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan, plus a variety of supporting members from other big-name acts rotating in and out the group. So in the QOTSA context, Them Crooked Vultures is their strongest album in years. It’s not quite as solid as Songs for the Deaf (my #13 album of 2002) or Rated R (my #11 album of 2000), it lacks a monster standout single like both of them had (“No One Knows” and “The Lost Art of Keeping A Secret” respectively), and it can get slightly indulgent at times. But this is a strong effort that gets the blood pumping and the brain thinking simultaneously.
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2009 Candidate)