Josh Homme's desert rock powerhouse just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts as an indie act. After six years' absence, guitars squeal and groan with juicy tones ("If I Had a Tail"), weird noises become hooky piano ballads ("The Vampyre of Time and Memory"), and guest stars range from the inspired (Trent Reznor, Brody "Mrs. Josh Homme" Dalle, sometimes Queens Mark Lanegan and Dave Grohl) to the strange and almost ridiculous (Elton John). It all works because Homme's created his own Seventies – an improved one. There, punk doesn't have to happen, since David Bowie ("Kalopsia") can collaborate with Black Sabbath to create riffola as intelligent and glamorous as it is heavy ("My God Is the Sun"), and rock stardom doesn't bloat given that the virtual public now prefers Can and Neu! to Yes when they want prog ("Fairweather Friends"). Only within such a mind-space can a vision like Homme's live and thrive, and obviously, John and Jane Q. Public are ready to visit such a place. ... Like Clockwork: great for rock & roll, great for culture, great for the world. (QOTSA load into ACL Fest in October.)
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