By Jamie McNamara
Perhaps Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme’s most underrated talent is his ability to make anything that he works on sound like a QOTSA record, no matter the personnel involved. That’s been true for the past six QOTSA albums, and even with pop producer Mark Ronson, it’s true for Villains.
While bringing Ronson, whose past credits include Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars, aboard may seem like a leftfield move, the results are almost disappointingly similar to 2015’s …Like Clockwork, because, after all, to quote Josh Homme himself on “Make It Wit Chu,” “Sometimes the same is different, but mostly it’s the same.”
Villains explodes out of the gate with “Feet Don’t Fail Me,” a desert-noir foot stomper that blends Ronson’s penchant for pop-funk with QOTSA’s bong-ripping stoner rock. It’s not the last time that blend of influences pays off well: “The Evil Has Landed,” “Hideaway,” and “Un-Reborn Again” all exude pomp and swagger while still sounding like textbook QOTSA.
Album highlight “Domesticated Animals” is a chugging, mixed-meter melee that builds to one of the best rock choruses in recent memory and a thrilling conclusion that finds bassist Michael Schuman unleashing a bloodcurdling yell not heard on a QOSTA album since Songs for the Deaf.
It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but throughout its runtime, Villains serves to cement QOSTA’s reputation as one of the most consistently enjoyable bands in modern rock music.Matador Records, Queens of the Stone Age, Record Review, Villains