Queens Of The Stone AgeLullabies To Paralyze (Interscope)

Like the Cave In album of this year, Lullabies… is a good album, but one with qualification. While a new band releasing this record would impress me for being so good, the fact that this is QOTSA comes with the weight of the classic Rated R, not to mention the final three Kyuss albums.

In the light of this past, the listener is forced to see this album as a disappointment. Many would attribute this to the loss of Nick Oliveri, who provided a dynamic counterpoint (he’s crazy and noisy) to the smoother Josh Homme, as well as being one of the two constants since the formation of the band.

I would disagree, as Oliveri played on their last album, Songs For The Deaf, and that wasn’t great either. The problem, as with this album, is that there is just too much of it.

Rarely is an album of 14+ songs at 60+ minutes an essential one. Soundgarden managed it twice at the height of their powers in the mid-90s (Superunknown and Down on the Upside), but Homme is no Chris Cornell, it would seem. Even on those latter albums were songs that could have been cut.

So this album is a victim of its own ambition. The first half certainly contains good songs, but absolutely nothing happens in the second half until the excellent conclusion that is ‘The Long Slow Goodbye’ – an epic and sweeping modern rock great.

The nail in the coffin of this album would be that the good first half – catchy though it is, is never actually exciting. No ‘Avon’ on this, nor a ‘No-One Knows’, or ‘Auto Pilot’ for that matter. As good as this album can be at times, very little would be good enough to feature on …R.

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