In 2009, Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones teamed together for a supergroup of sorts. Since it was comprised of three super talented guys people expected nothing but the best from the new band. While the album is good, it didn’t do much to blow people’s mind. Every track is great and the record in total is really fun, but with so many dominant musicians together a lot of the songs ended up sounding like their regular bands.
Since Josh Homme is front and center of the band, a lot of the songs sound like Queens of the Stone Age. This is instantly heard on the opening tack “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I.” The tongue in cheek lyrics about fleeting lust and the sleepy groove found in the music sounds like it was ripped from one of their albums, but the song is still solid. It has a great groove to it and wonderful vocals from Homme that make it sound like he’s drunk on sex. “Mind Eraser, No Chaser” sounds like a mash up of QOTSA and Foo Fighters, not that it’s a bad thing. Dave’s backing vocals mix so well with Homme’s croon you can’t help but fall in love with it. It’s full of energy and dirty riffs to get you going, but since it ends with muted horns, it reminds you of a QOTSA track.
The best song on the record has to be “Dead End Friends.” Something about the dirty riff is sexy and gets stuck in your head; it sounds dangerous in the best way. It’s an oddly catchy song with Homme’s vocals carrying the listener on this adventure. Since the lyrics are so visual, you can picture the band driving along a dark road searching for their “dead end friends.” It’s an awesome track that instantly pulls you in. The fast riff that introduces “Elephants” is reminiscent of a Led Zeppelin song with blues infused rock and roll. It draws the listener in with the slow pace and then rapidly grows chaotic out of nowhere. It’s like the music is racing against itself. Midway through, the tone changes again. It slows down and takes on this cool stop/start beat instead. As the song continues, the tone grows more and more unhinged. Definitely one of the standout tracks here.
The band adds some psychedelic flavor to “Scumbag Blues” and “Reptiles” that works in some places, but takes some getting used to in others. The former song even has some funk elements to it that gives it a sneaky groove. But the one song that stands out is “Interludes with Ludes.” It’s a creepy song with hushed music starting us off before getting louder. Homme adds to the unsettling tone by sounding like a demented stalker as he sings “If you want me I’m yours /And even if you don’t want me /I’m trained and licensed and armed to the teeth /I think you’ll agree.” As the track goes on it gets trippy and demented. There’s even a part where heavy percussion comes in sounding like something from Nine Inch Nails. It actually sounds like Dave’s banging on pots and pans. It’s a really cool song that breaks up the dirty riffs found on practically every track.
The groove comes back on “Caligulove” where the music is a bit playful. The added keyboard provides a touch of the psychedelic, which throws you off at times, but it eventually grows on you. This is another track where Homme shows how sensual he can be as he sings “Hold me real close/Clap me in irons/C’mon Caligulove me.” The closer “Spinning in Daffodils” starts off on a different note than the other tracks. It begins with somber piano playing that’s slowly being interrupted by a harsh, disjointed guitar riff until the riff eventually takes over. The entire sound of the music is sinister and devious as things slowly spiral out of control. The music keeps building up and mashing together until it’s difficult to tell it all apart. It’s a great display for how all these talented musicians can come together and create awesome music. My only gripe with the song is at seven minutes it’s way too long. After about four minutes you’re ready for the track to end.
Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. It’s a good album for sure, but with so many talented musicians lumped together, it mainly sounds like b-sides from their respective bands. Still, the songs are good and the album is really fun. While there are some stand out tracks that quickly become favorites, most of the songs end up blending together due to the similar sounds found on them. Yet, if the band were to release another album, I would still be excited. Any excuse to hear Josh Homme’s sexy croon is fine by me. Plus, all three guys make good music together even if it’s nothing drastically different.