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CD review: Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘…Like Clockwork’

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork
Three stars

In many ways, …Like Clockwork, the sixth Queens of the Stone Age record, is a throwback. Former members Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo make appearances, sometime-drummer Dave Grohl appears on most tracks and the music covers familiar ground—from hard-charging riffs (first single “My God Is the Sun”) and swaggering stoner-blues jams (“Keep Your Eyes Peeled”) to ’70s rock homages (the hazy prog of “The Vampyre of Time and Memory”). Yet Clockwork does find the band pushing itself in new directions: David Bowie is a prominent influence—from the glammy guitar boogie “I Sat by the Ocean” to the piano-aided prog squeals of the Mark Lanegan co-write “Fairweather Friends”—and the leering standout “Smooth Sailing” is falsetto-driven mustache-rock with seductive rhythms. Still, Clockwork emphasizes atmosphere over aggression and is largely locked into a sludgy midtempo groove. As a result, the record lacks the urgency and energy of previous QOTSA albums, which ultimately makes it a frustrating listen.

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