Every Queens of the Stone Age album is highly anticipated, and rightly so. Ever since the release of what is proclaimed as ’rock album of the decade’ in the form of Rated R, it would be outrageous not to expect an album filled to the brim with brilliance and originality. It seems that the six-year wait since Era Vulgaris has aided in creating a platform for the band to produce what can only be described as a masterpiece.
…Like Clockwork perfectly depicts the entirety of the bands musical career whilst also looking to the future with incredible originality. The albums first track, ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’, is a perfect homage to Homme’s work with Kyuss. Heavy riffs and punchy drums create a backdrop for Homme and, unusual collaborator, Jake Shears’ dark, sultry vocals before falling into a beautifully placed violin line that creates a melancholic ambience for the entire album. The mood changes entirely as you are led straight into the rhythm of ‘I Sat By The Ocean’, which is a perfect demonstration that though the band are in their 15th year, they haven’t lost touch with their definitive, groove-laden, euphoric sound.
At this point in the album, there is a realisation that the album seems rather fragmented, with the emotional content of the album changing between tracks. ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’ is a beautiful, piano-led track with nothing but Homme’s melancholic vocals as an accompaniment before a harsh, synth brass line introduces the full ensemble, which acts as a strange contrast to the heavy groove and melancholia introduced in the previous tracks. But, as the song comes to its overwhelming climax, the emotion and tonality of the album’s introductory tracks conglomerate perfectly and all ideas of fragmentation are lost.
‘If I Had a Tail’ is where the album hits its stride. A perfect combination of dark euphoria and heavy grooves, assisted by the addition of guest vocals and guitar from The Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner. This track would sit perfectly on any previous Queens of the Stone Age release, and energetically drives the album into the Songs For The Deaf-esque track ‘My God Is The Sun’.
The album is once again pulled back with the ambiently produced beauty of ‘Kalopsia’. Sir Elton John provides strikingly simple piano riffs and backing vocals, pushing the album forward dramatically with each chorus to create a dark and overwhelming magnificence. This constructs a perfect scenery for settling into the sincerity, honesty, and heavyweight awesomeness of ‘Fairweather Friends’.
This entire album just builds and builds. There are climactic moments at which the idea of more energy and emotion seems impossible; alas it is somehow achieved. It is the strong use of contrast that has provided this energy. All light must be juxtaposed with darkness and …Like Clockwork weighs out the light and darkness perfectly on each track and on the album overall. The emotional title track concludes the album majestically, and leaves you enchanted by the splendour that has been bestowed upon you. This album is not only one of the albums of the year, it is Queens of the Stone Age’s finest release in their 15-year history.