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Queens Of The Stone Age | Restricted | review | stoner | rock | Lollipop

Queens Of The Stone Age

Restricted (Interscope)
by Craig Regala

This is a really good rock record using tricks common to the late '60s German Neu, Faust, and Can. Run out and buy it right now. Aside from a minute and a half spazz/glitter tune, this disc rolls through your brain so cleanly you don't even notice the artfulness of it. There's nothing else in the "stoner" clan that works like this. The riffs feed structures that form looping circles, letting the vocal melodies steer the tunes to the point where the binary tension/release shift acts as a hook, half the time it gets far enough from orthodox heaviness to move like a less tense, more naturally flowing SubPop-era Six Finger Satellite. Structurally, this is closer to what funk did when it crashed into disco when disco was being informed by the electronic pulse-fueling of Donna Summers' "I Feel Love." A song, upon initial hearing, that made Brian Eno tear out of the room hollering how he'd just heard the future.

Overall, Rated R still has links to rocker stuff (about as much as the Smashing Pumpkins did to the grunge norm), using a basic bass/drums/guitars/vocals set-up. The tones and settings are consistent with the rock Mr. Radio Programmer isn't scared of. The geeping and blorping done by synth and/or what-not are but spicing, and quite tasty at that.

Hope I didn't throw you off with the disco/6FS/German talk up there... I mean, there's drumming on here that bumps into the first Stooges record and guitaring that dips into the psychedelic '70s well to get the right water (the heavy kind used in the desert nuclear reactor experiments) to make their soup. Rated R isn't quite as hefty as QOTSA's last record, but to no detriment. The riffage may be a bit lighter, but it's as actively played, with better tunes and a more musical presentation. The singing is more confident, as well as shared -- Mark Lanagan shows up, and I think I hear Chris "Masters Of Reality" Goss and Fatso Jetson's Mario Lalli too, but that could be me. I was told the second cut, "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret," is the one that's gonna get the push. It has the strongest vocal melody, hooks and presentation of the songs present. No reason why this couldn't slip in rotation between Stone Temple Pilots, Korn, S. Pumpkins and Monster Magnet.


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