1998 - Rough Edge.com: Queens of the Stone Age Review
by Christopher J. Kelter
Once the demise of Kyuss was certain, Josh Homme took a two year gig with the Screaming Trees as a backing guitarist while the Trees were touring. Homme, luckily for all of us, decided to get back to doing his own thing.

Homme, handling both guitar and singing duties, managed to hook up with Alfredo Hernandez (a Kyuss alumnus) on drums, and Carlo on bass guitar (I'm presuming "Carlo" to be Chris Goss from Masters of Reality).

Queens Of The Stone Age manage to bring a greater sense of melody and shorter songs with good vocal hooks and more blues-based magic. While neither as obtuse or as repetitive as Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age succeed in providing a healthy dose of excitement with more pop-oriented song structures. With Kyuss the listener had to wait patiently for long stretches of musical ideas to fully develop much like one would have satisfaction over the course of a six course meal; with Queens Of The Stone Age the band seems to have distilled their musical ideas into sweet, bite-sized morsels. And who knew that Homme could sing as well as he does - he's not a great vocalist by any stretch of the imagination, but his voice fits the songs very well.

"If Only" and "Mexicola" are my favorite tracks on this self-titled debut. "If Only" has the disc's best chorus with a noisy guitar solo. "Mexicola" has a lyric full of longing ("Setting sun deals hands of gold/There's velvet eyes in Mexico/Just a fall away and all she said was true") that is rarely matched by artists of any genre.

Other strong tracks include "Avon" and "How To Handle A Rope." "Avon" has a charging rhythm and a soothing vocal that when put together has a nice effect. "How To Handle A Rope," with verses bursting with fuzzy guitars, melts into a temperate chorus that should keep both the metal and alternative crowds happy.

It has always occurred to me that the best songs in the world are about possession; in that vein, Queens Of The Stone Age offer "You Can't Quit Me, Baby." The song has a fairly sturdy bass line with a slowly rolling guitar part that keeps just a fraction ahead of the beat. The end of the song speeds up into an explosive finish with dramatic effect as though the main character of the song was bringing a violent end to his desire for the object of his affection.

The current band line-up includes Homme, Hernandez, Nick Oliveri (also a Kyuss alumnus) on bass, and Dave Catching (complementing the band with both keyboards and guitars). This self-titled debut was produced by Homme and Joe Baressi (Baressi has worked with Hole, Fu Manchu, and Weezer).

3 out of 4

go back
main songs and releases the band tour history articles and gallery qotsa online