Queens of the Stone Age will release their sixth album Era Vulgaris
June 12 on Interscope. These two tracks mark my first taste of the forthcoming record and have me itching to hear the album in its entirety. "3's and 7's" is the better of the two and features a nice riff-heavy rock groove and some of Queens frontman Josh Homme's signature slippery guitar squeals. The refrains briefly shift the tune into more poppy territory and provide a nice contrast to the more straightforward rock verses. Perhaps the most interesting element is the slightly dissonant bridge, which is well structured and perfectly transitions the tune into the outro guitar solo. "Sick Sick Sick" is more aggressive and features some sludgy (perhaps de-tuned) guitars and distorted bass. Homme is in top form here and his vocal performance and occasional guitar runs make the tune. Towards the end, Homme shares vocal duties with the Strokes' Julian Casablancas who offers a few lines in his trademark slur. As his role is limited, Casablancas offers little to the tune aside from a conversation piece and (thankfully) does not distract or detract from the overall product. On the basis of these two songs, it appears Queens are likely gonna add another strong album to their discography.
This band is operating in a genre (commercially viable hard rock) that, for the most part, is bereft of anything exciting or even marginally original. Besides these guys and the White Stripes, I'm having trouble thinking of a single other band that gets much mainstream rock radio play that I would bother listening to. Queens's success is a testament to the fact that hard rock can
still be profitable AND fresh sounding. But, make no mistake, this is an exceedingly difficult feat to pull off. Though there is a definite market for music with potential cross-over appeal to indie kids, metal heads, and mainstream rock radio fans, it's much easier and more safe to stick to formulas (i.e., grunge retreads) with known success. It's a shame record companies don't give consumers enough credit to tackle more adventurous music and that more hard rock bands haven't stepped up to the challenge of creating it.
Queens of the Stone Age - "3's and 7's"
Queens of the Stone Age - "Sick Sick Sick"Pre-order the album hereQueens of the Stone Age tour dates
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