Review Summary: Middle of the road return from QOTSA, that they've been sliding toward for 8 years.
Am I the only one decidedly underwhelmed by the latest QOTSA album? It has been described by many as Homme's maturation from his brutal but beautiful past but contrary to this assertion I feel it's his fully fledged plunge into turgidity that he has been threatening since the release of Lullabies to Paralyze eight years ago.
Where once infectious melody, energy and genuine invention imbued tracks like Autopilot, In My Head and Go With The Flow with an effortless, wanton abandon, now tracks such as I Sat By The Ocean, If I Had A Tail and My God Is The Sun seem leaden and sluggish by comparison. A dim, slow younger sibling: much is expected of them but they pale in comparison to their multi-faceted elder siblings.
Having said this, the album is obviously extremely proficiently performed by a plethora of multi-talented and multi-instrumental musicians cut from disparate cloths. When you get Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl and Elton John together they are going to hit creative pay dirt at some stage or another. As such, I Appear Missing and Like Clockwork emerge at the tail end of the record battered and bruised from the mediocrity surrounding them.
After the final note slinks into the ether, I was left feeling that while I had been relatively unoffended by what had passed my ears, I had not been grabbed by the balls by a fist in a studded leather glove either. Ultimately, if QOTSA don't grab you relentlessly by the balls, then what's the point in their existence?