Review of The Crooked Vultures self-titled album.
A confident, almost laid-back album from Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones comes across originally much as the former's famous Desert Sessions does; music for the sake of it, just having fun with some friends when none of them are up to much. Many of the songs are perforated with unnecessary solos and instrumental sections where each band member is obviously having fun with their part. Listen to it more than a few times and its true message starts to seep through.
'I know how to burn with passion' sings Homme in the middle of the first track, No One Loves Me And Neither Do I and with this in mind, the album slowly becomes decoded, no longer a series of repetitive riffs punctuated with cool sounded but ultimately superfluous overlays, instead, a relentless pounding crescendo filling up each song- little touches like the stereo phasered popping increasing in pitch and velocity before the denouement of Mind Chaser, No Eraser really make the album, indeed, making up for some of its downsides. I should note as well, the climax to the last track, Spinning In Daffodils is incredible.
Homme and QOTSA have never really been able to string an album together- partly because the style of music is in its nature repetitive and partly because there's never enough variety to see it through. Them Crooked Vultures manages to bypass this a little bit with tracks like Scumbag Blues showing up to provide a welcome break near the midpoint, but it can grow quite tiresome if you happen to listen to it twice in quick succession. There's usually something in each track to bring it back and make it worthwhile in isolation, but the good points in each song are often very subtle and get lost in the unnecessarily extensive tracklist.