QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
Back to the beginning…Upon the dissolution of the criminally overlooked Kyuss, guitarist Josh Homme pulled up stakes from the California Desert for the Pacific Northwest to work on a new project concurrent with spending time on the road as second guitarist in Screaming Trees. Seeking a new sound, Homme discarded the sludgy low-end expanses of his former band for much tighter song structure (for the most part) and honest-to-goodness capital ‘H’ hooks and what was originally christened Gamma Ray was quickly changed to Queens Of The Stone Age shortly after birth.
Homme returned to his old stomping grounds of and reunited with latter day Kyuss drummer Alfredo Hernandez to record as a fake trio (bass player “Carlo Von Sexron” is a nom-de-boom for Homme) and QOTSA came into full bloom. If this re-issue doesn’t document “hour zero,” it’s only a few minutes past. “Regular John” introduces Homme as a smooth and assured vocalist with great melodic instinct. Tracks like “Avon” and “Walkin On Sidewalks” lock into heavy riffs that are in entrancing in their repetition and subtle shifts. And it’s hard to believe that insistently catchy “How To Handle A Rope” didn’t make a greater impact on mainstream radio upon its initial release.
Amidst the mid-fi riffage and willful experimentalism of an artist forging a new sound for himself are some killer guitar melodies that could have easily come from 1971, 1991 or 2011. And that’s part of the timelessness of this unassuming debut album. QOTSA can only truly be classified as a “rock band;” Any attempt to narrow that down further would be to neglect the scope of Homme’s broad body of work and the band’s wide-reaching appeal.