Them be livin’ up to expectations.
It’s not the first time that Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl has jammed with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme - Songs For The Deaf, anyone? It’s also not the first time that Grohl has jammed with legendary Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones either. It is a first that all three have come together and with an insane amount of hype surrounding this union, they became Them Crooked Vultures before unleashing their self titled debut unto the very eager masses. But has the album lived up to the hype? Did this supergroup deliver as expected? It certainly seems as though they have.
With the trio being fronted by Homme, it’s understandable that there is a very strong Queens vibe to what the group offer thanks to his unique guitar style and sound and inimitable vocal croon. His stamp dominates clearly with the opening tracks like No One Loves Me & Neither Do I and Minder Eraser, No Chaser sounding very Queens like. New Fang, the lead single, is a quirky, upbeat jam whilst Dead End Friends is more straight forward rock and Elephants has a distinct Led Zep feel to the driving riff that ushers it in. Compared to the lively Scumbag Blues, Bandoliers is gentler and would lend itself perfectly to the likes of Mark Lanegran’s gravel like vocals, even though Homme’s tone is matched perfectly to the song.
Reptiles clatters along gently before the non-event of Interlude With Ludes disrupts the almost flawless flow of the album. Thankfully, things are immediately back on track with the swinging Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up, which has a mild vibe of The Doors to it thanks to the organ that appears in the chorus. Caligulove’s stomp is almost Eagles of Death Metal like whilst the groove of Gunman’s verse and it’s equally infectious and haunting chorus are true aural bliss. The seven minute Spinning In Daffodils, as solid as it is, would have been a better second last song in my opinion, but the manner in which is simply fades out behind some saucy slide guitar isn’t a bad way to go, either.
It was always going to be an interesting exercise for a super group with this much hype surrounding them to see if they could deliver. Them Crooked Vultures have lived up to the expectations of many. Sure, there’s a strong Queens of the Stone Age sound to it, and if Grohl fronted it, it would be very Foo Fighters like - that is inescapable. Irrespective either way, the debut effort from Them Crooked Vultures is chock full of great rock ‘n’ roll songs and that’s just what we all wanted to hear.
(RCA Records/Sony Music Australia)