Queens of the Stone Age – Queens of the Stone Age [Reissue]


Despite achieving significant acclaim amongst a cramped collection of fans and fellow musicians, stoner rockers Kyuss failed in ever truly winning over the masses with their sludgy sounds – instead remaining forever trapped beneath that partly appreciated, partly disdained label that is cult band for their seven year life span.

Following the break up in 1995, Kyuss guitarist, Joshua Homme, emerged from the dopey haze with renewed vigour and vision. Sadly – he didn’t have much to hand. In fact, his new musical project was a trifle shoddy.

Recording his new LP turned into a modest two man job, with Homme responsible for both guitar and bass duties, while former Kyuss drummer, Alfredo Hernández, was napped as sticksman.

Once the album was complete, negotiations with the influential Roadrunner Records soon flopped. Again, it seemed Homme was in for yet another unspectacular response.

Eventually, the band landed a deal with independent Loosegroove Records – a Seattle label formed by ex- Pearl Jam guitarist, Stone Gossard, and home to the likes of Critters Buggin, Weapon of Choice, Malfunkshun. Little did said label realise that evening they slotted the peculiar-named Queens of the Stone Age amongst their humble roster, however, was that they had just signed the forthcoming millennium’s demi-rock-god to be.

But then again, who’s to say they didn’t have an inclination. Surely, as soon as those first few power-chorded seconds of opener ‘Regular John’ ricocheted around the office, Loosegroove knew they had grabbed hold of something hot.

Queens of the Stone Age’s debut LP was key to showcasing a young Homme’s ability to promote angry riffs to lush rock melodies. Here was a new and intricate song writing ability which suddenly separated the band from their draggey, stoner rock surround. Just listen to ‘If Only’ which counterbalances it’s harsh sludgy rotation with bright percussion, pointy guitar leads and bouncy vox tickling away at the surface.

Indeed, throughout the album, you truly hear Homme blooming into his new role as front man come vocalist – his distinct, falsetto coos providing a buffer to the harsh realities of ‘Avon’, while his seductive delivery completely makes the mesmerizing ‘I Was A Teenage Hand Model’.

Despite the more supple song writing on show, Homme had not sacrificed his crunchy Kyuss pass completely. In fact the album often harks back to his history – take ‘Hispanic Impressions’, with it’s bassey, thundering guitar instrumentals, or ‘Walkin’ on the Sidewalks’, which continues the slow, breathless riffing of old.

While not so eclectic, nor perhaps as eventful in comparison to coming records, ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ most certainly provides us with a look into the future of the band, too. ‘You Would Know’, with it’s spiralling licks, quirky vocals and plain bludgeoning hook, hints at the forthcoming ‘Rated R’s exciting, sultry rhythms, while the spacey ‘Give The Mule What He Wants’ oozes with a sexuality Joshua Homme would ultimately go on to be the definition of.

Keen to avoid being coined “money grabbers” (this is the second reissue from the band in the last year), Queens of the Stone Age have also enclosed three extra tracks into the re-release : the chomping ‘The Bronze’, and two instrumentals, the monstrously disjointed ‘These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For’, and ‘Spiders and Vinegaroons’ – which ultimately breaks out into an unexpected Flaming Lips-worthy synth-out post reverb psych guitar.

While ‘Queen of the Stone Age’ doesn’t contain as many tricks up it’s sleeve as future QOTSA records – this debut LP didn’t require any. It’s primary intention is to offer up the band at their most primitive and bloody stage, while teasing at the rich musical complexities Homme was to bring us over the next decade. No matter how cliché, this record is truly where it all started – and the sense of excitement one gets from hearing the raw roots of this now-legendary desert rock band is beyond compare.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.