Alt-rock royalty return with a solid single, sounding just the way they used to do.
Excuse the awful pun there. Queens Of The Stone Age have never lost touch with the sound that propelled them to the soaring heights that they have enjoyed for the best part of the 21 years that they have been kicking around. Personally, it was 2002’s Songs For The Deaf that particularly captured my attention – the jagged riffs and obscurely catchy hooks that crowned the timeless hits such as No One Knows, Go With The Flow and First It Giveth. I must admit, after this album, I was sleeping on this band – their following efforts failed to impress the same enticement that I had previously indulged in with Songs For The Deaf.
That was until 2013, which saw the end of a lengthy six-year wait for any new material from this Californian quintet. …Like Clockwork was a truly impressive return to form – an album that suited the alt-rock sensibilities that were very much in fashion at the time (tracks like I Sat By The Ocean and Smooth Sailing were considerably more accessible for the casual listener than the majority of songs previously exhibited) as well as maintaining that challenging cutting-edge that is so integral to the final product of Queens Of The Stone Age. Following this album, I have been decidedly more eager to hear what QOTSA might deliver next.
Enter The Way You Used To Do. A brand new single hot off the press that makes no time for exchanging pleasantries, with an itchy intro driven by an unconventionally buzzing guitar. The layers that this lead guitar track is superimposed upon expertly serve to cement the frantic bluesy vibe that was established from the inception of the song. Intermittent stabs from rhythmic chords substantially juxtapose the main riff whilst a stable rhythm section of drums and bass serve to maintain and sustain a bouncy rhythm that almost promotes a call-and-response effect with the other textures.
Enigmatically iconic frontman, Josh Homme’s trademark vocals glide atop this brilliantly chaotic piece in true Queens Of The Stone Age tradition. It is remarkable how, despite all those years of practising his profession, Homme’s vocals have not altered or diminished one iota – a testimony to true talent. Crooning at points and spiky at others – the vocals serve to ensure that we are aware who produced this track – there is no mistaking Homme’s voice and subsequently, the overall sound of this legendary band.
I believe The Way You Used To Do is an insight to what upcoming album, Villains (set for release on 25th August 2017), could potentially offer. While this single is an impressive track, I must note that it somewhat lacks that hook that made those standout tracks in Queens Of The Stone Ages’ discography so fantastically insatiable. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if this song should fall victim to a lack of longevity; it runs the risk of not making the lasting impression that is more or less guaranteed with a catchy hook. I am hoping that Villains will showcase some tracks that surpass The Way You Used To Do in regards to basic catchiness and likeability.