Despite being heralded by many as their best album since their 2002 classic Songs For The Deaf, heavy rockers Queens of the Stone Age’s seventh studio album Villains shows a continuation from their last album, Like Clockwork.
The band’s signature sounds of fuzzy guitars and vaudevillian vocals by frontman Josh Homme are still at the forefront, but the band seem to be a little more playful this time around.
Lead single The Way You Used To Do is a prime example, with a gnarly guitar riff that repeats throughout, while Homme switches between his normal voice and falsetto so frequently that it verges on a yodel. The handclap rhythm though is what injects the party feel, making it their most radio friendly song to date. This dance-like nature is also captured on the theatrical yet bouncy opener Feel Don’t Fail Me where Homme highlights “Seventeen in ’73, when the needle hit the groove”.
Domesticated Animals is incredibly jarring, again with a simple repeated earworm motif, punctuated by stabby drums and squelchy bass, as Homme sells “The revolution is one spin round”.
Un-Reborn Again has a distinct Bowie sound, Hideaway feels incredibly melodic and relaxed, while the racy Head Like A Haunted House is Queens on supercharge, and impossible to keep up with.
The only thing missing from the album is a heavy track. The Evil Has Landed is the closest to offering this with a metallic riff and multiple solos, but it fails to employ the booming drums it so easily warrants.
Villains is full of drama, darkness and atmosphere, but fundamentally sounds like a band having fun.