Queens Of The Stone Age: Era Vulgaris
Queens Of The Stone Age - Era Vulgaris - [Interscope Records]


From the first time listening to Queens Of The Stone Age's fifth album (sixth, if you count the live album) I understood that there is something bizarre with this album. Ok, so it's big in sound and quality, but somehow I felt that it doesn't matter how much I will love this album, it won't stay long in my stereo after I'll finish writing this review. It took about 50 more plays to get my head around this album, but it finally came around.

QOTSA's music is pure Rock N' Roll, in the positive meaning of the phrase; hard, fun and full of self-conscious humor. A tight bombastic production, with melodies that on one hand are catchy and on the other hand it's rare for them to actually start looping endlessly in your head. Some say it's what makes it fall in between seats. They're one of the coolest and greatest bands around, but it's still hard to attach them to any mood or band that will make me put them in my stereo.

Josh Homme and his friends keep on putting out records baring the mark of excellence all over them. Their most familiar album is probably "Songs For The Deaf" with the hit single "No One Knows", especially for Dave Grohl's guest drumming role (even though it's a great album on its own right as well). The following album, a great one as well, "Lullabies to Paralyze", even produced the hit single "Little Sister".

But it doesn't matter how many QOTSA singles or "hits" you've encountered through friends and radio, that's not how you listen to these guys. This is a band you put its album in your stereo, press play and experience the album in its whole. Each album is wrapped up as a package; Concept and sound as one, and the only way to understand it is in its own context. Oh, and it should be attended in total vacuum, where music you were just listening to won't fit in with the album, doesn’t matter what it is you're listening to.

"Era Vulgaris" is no different. It kicks of with "Turning The Screw", with 70's big rusty drums opening for the row and dirty sounding guitars while Homme wows the music in. From that point on everything gets dirtier and messier. I personally couldn't stay in apathy during the phrase: "those who can't, just instruct others".
Unlike their usual direction, "Into The Hollow" has a Doors-style rhythm, and Josh's vocals just add to that resemblance; A laid back feeling, but with no laziness in it.

Throughout the songs the Rock N' Roll stays, the drums get thicker and the guitars keep on producing head banging riffs. I'm slowly filled with the urge to get a big truck, with speakers that go above my height, and drive around town to show everyone who's the coolest guy in town. This is definitely the soundtrack for that sort of ride. In time, I will feel the urge for a large raw steak and cold beer straight from a bottle, while each song fuels me by its own energy.

QOTSA are a phenomenon. They wear this natural pose, which is the coolest pose to find around. They don't try to be cool, but they can't have it any other way. "Era Vulgaris" is just another proof that it isn't how low you wear your pants but how they make your butt look.

Roy Povarchik

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