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Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf

  by Mark Rowland

published: 2 / 9 / 2002

Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Instantly classic third album from stoner rock supergroup, Queens of the Stone Age, which finds former Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl, back behind the drum kit for the first time in eight years

Let me take you back to 1995. Kyuss, a band that defined the stoner rock genre over their four albums in the early nineties, have decided to call it a day. Singer John Garcia forms Unida, Josh Homme joins the Screaming Trees on tour, bassist Scott Reeder and new drummer Alfredo Hernandez aren't really heard of, and that's that. Fast-forward a few years, and Josh Homme has put together a new band with Alfredo Hernandez and Kyuss' original bassist and professional nutter, Nick Oliveri. Kyuss fans are very excited about this new band, as it's the first writing Homme has done since Kyuss' last album 'And the Circus Leaves Town'. This new band, Queens of the Stone Age, plays their debut show in the desert that Kyuss first started in. Their sparser trippy rock sound, however, leaves some fans disappointed. Their self-titled debut is released, and sells reasonably well, although, good as the album is, the band are relative unknowns. A couple more years forward and the story's completely changed. QOTSA's second album 'Rated R', with it's new line-up (Josh and Nick are still there though) and a guest appearance from ex-Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, has catapulted them into rock's big league, the critics and public alike lapping up their now expanded drug rock sound. Now that they're bona fide rock stars, it's difficult to see what direction QOTSA will take next. Now, in 2002, that next step has been taken, in the form of new album 'Songs for the Deaf', and what a next step it is. Once again, the line-up has been changed. Mark Lanegan is now a proper member of the band, A Perfect Circle guitarist Troy van Leeuwen is on second guitar, and probably most exciting and shocking of all, they've got Dave Grohl to play drums for the first time in 5 or 6 years. This is also the touring line-up, which in some ways is even more shocking, as Dave Grohl not only has his own band the Foo Fighters to think about, but he hasn't played drums live for 8 years. Another question to ask: after all that time away from the drum kit, is Dave Grohl as good as he once was? That last question is answered on the first listen of 'Songs for the Deaf'. Dave's drumming sounds phenomenal, even better than when he was in Nirvana. This is probably because the sound of QOTSA is a more accomplished, extravagant sound than Nirvana's raw punk-pop, and it has allowed Grohl to spread his wings and try more challenging things on the drums. The old power he had from his Nirvana days is still there too, and listening to 'Songs for the Deaf' you are constantly reminded of just how good a drummer Dave Grohl can be. It's not just the drumming that's great on this album either. 'Songs for the Deaf' is an all round technically good album, something you don't find very often in many modern bands, with the guitar playing being especially good. In terms of song-writing too, the band has come on in leaps and bounds. A friend of mine bought this album before I got it, and summed up the album perfectly. 'Songs for the Deaf' sound like a classic album on the first listen, but, and here's the clever part, keeps growing on you with every listen, so that you find yourself still listening to it after months of intensive listening, like a really good book that you can't put down. There is a greater focus in the song-writing than previous efforts as well. As good as it is, there are tracks on previous album 'Rated R' that after a promising start, lose their direction and drift off into nowhere. On 'Songs for the Deaf', however, even the longer songs manage to stay on the path and keep your interest, such as the pairing of 'A Song for the Dead' and 'A Song for the Deaf', two of the best songs on the album, and also two of the trippiest. Lyrically, there has also been a change in direction, with the general mood being a more personal, sombre one than the abstract drug references of their other albums. For those of you who get you're copy quick enough, there's also a bonus DVD containing live tracks of the band, three with the current line-up at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, and another two at a record store showcase with the 'Rated R' line-up, including one, 'Ode to Clarissa', that is previously unreleased. Other tracks include 'Rated R's classic singles 'The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret' and 'Monsters in the Parasol', and a particularly powerful performance (by Grohl especially) of the first single off 'Songs for the Deaf', 'No one Knows'. In the Troubadour songs however, there are a few too many camera changes, so that at certain points the picture flicks around so much that it's difficult to see what's going on. Still, it's worth watching purely to see Dave Grohl behind the drums again. I know I tend to exaggerate a bit sometimes when it comes to bands I like, but Queens of the Stone Age really have come up with the best rock album in ages. It's so good I could talk about it all day. Already have, in fact.

Track Listing:-
1 You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar...
2 No One Knows
3 First It Giveth
4 Song For The Dead
5 Sky Is Fallin'
6 Six Shooter
7 Hangin' Tree
8 Go With The Flow
9 Gonna Leave You
10 Do It Again
11 God Is The Radio
12 Another Love Song
13 Song For The Deaf
14 Mosquito Song (Hidden Track)
15 Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret (Live-UK Bonus Track)
16 Everybody's Gonna Be Happy (UK Bonus Track)

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