Review Summary: A crossroads album, or the real deal?
2005's Lullabies To Paralyze
is the textbook underrated gem; overshadowed by the band's first three stellar entries, Queens fourth outing is the first to be without co-founder and wild man, Nick Oliveri. Songwriting duties fell entirely on Homme, with anticipation and anxiety for the album, fans were left to ponder if the ringleader could maintain the same standard of quality without Nick. However, it's evident after listening to the album's first three tracks that this LP thwarts any worry and delivers the goods, albeit in a different way to previous efforts. Up to this point in their career, Lullabies To Paralyze
is the band's most dark and atmospheric record yet: spacey and mysterious, tracks like "Everybody Knows That You're Insane" and "Little Sister" pack the groove of Songs for the Deaf
with the simplicity of their debut, but bring an ominous, evil bite that separate themselves from their peers. There's some sleazy, swaggering moments on here like "You've Got A Killer Scene There, Man..." and "Broken Box," which urge the listener to sit back, chill and let the song do the rest; while the Zeppelin-esque "Someone's In The Wolf" and "Tangled Up In Plaid" bring the infectious grooves and spacey harmonies needed to bring a decent level of variety to the LP.
There's very rarely a dull moment here, and while the compositions aren't as high profile as the ones found on the first three albums, it has to be understood that Lullabies To Paralyze
was never meant to be like that. This one (and the two albums after it) requires a little more time to find all its subtleties, but, put the time in and you will be rewarded by the end of it. A couple of digestible, easy listening tunes such as "In My Head", which is the album's straight forward radio-rock song, and "Medication" will prick up the attention of even the most stubborn-minded listener; while slightly more alienating tracks like "Skin On Skin" are harder to warm to, but once your head's adjusted, you'll see Homme takes his vocals to new levels. But its biggest praise is most certainly the consistent atmosphere, which captures the artwork for the album perfectly. So the best way to experience this album is to go into the darkness with your dim light, and let QOTSA guide you through it all.
Editions: CD, C̶D̶/̶D̶V̶D̶, V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶, M̶P̶3̶
Packaging: Standard Jewelcase.
Special Edition: The UK version of the album contains two extra tracks: "Like A Drug" and "Precious And Grace", both decent additions to the album, and are fronted by guest vocalist, ZZ TOP's, Billy Gibbons. The DVD for the special edition contains music videos and behind the scenes footage.