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Monday, Dec. 28, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures

Them Crooked Vultures (DGC Records)

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After Dave Grohl announced in a 2005 Mojo interview that his project with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones “wouldn’t suck,” most fans of hard-hitting rock would’ve found it difficult to question such a statement. Four years later, said project finally released, it’s our responsibility to ask, “Does it suck?”

Well, of course it doesn’t (it’s Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul-freaking-Jones—come on!).

Next question: Does it rock socks and blow freaking minds?

A: Occasionally.

The problem (and, ironically, what keeps this album interesting) is that Grohl and Co. recognize that there are many gray shades of kick-you-in-the-face hard rock. Queens of the Stone Age is not Led Zeppelin. Hell, Foo Fighters aren’t even Nirvana. Sure, players can adapt their styles to mesh with a new ensemble. The closing circular riffing of “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I” and “Bandoliers”—the one track that could fit in any of the catalogs from the three members’ flagship bands—prove that. But then “Scumbag Blues” just rehashes 40-year-old Cream licks. And “Gunman” pulls a Man Who Sold the World metal-era Bowie chorus. OK, that one’s actually kinda cool. You’d probably like it.

2009-12-28


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