Album review: Queens Of The Stone Age – In Times New Roman…

Joshua Homme stares straight into the darkness on Queens Of The Stone Age’s edgy eighth album…

Album review: Queens Of The Stone Age – In Times New Roman…
Olly Thomas

On Straight Jacket Fitting, the epic nine-minute finale that finds him contemplating insanity both within and without, Joshua Homme sings, ‘To face down your demons, you gotta free them.’ Consider In Times New Roman…, the eighth time he’s led Queens Of The Stone Age into the fray, as an exorcism of several years’ worth of particularly heavy situations. The tricksterish spirit of their music remains, but where once was good humour, now the predominant mode is pitch-black, taking in the loss of his close friends Taylor Hawkins and Mark Lanegan, his cancer diagnosis, and his divorce.

As a starting point, Obscenery establishes several of the album’s juxtapositions, moving from jerky robo-funk riffage through a sassy bridge into a grandiose chorus, while lyrics veer from the bad pun of the title to an exhortation to ‘Fuck me stupid’ and into discussion of ‘emotional amputees’. If this sheer abundance of ideas can be hard to absorb, Paper Machete immediately places us back in the more traditional motorik vein of classic QOTSA – albeit accompanied by words quite baldly concerning Joshua's personal life.

And so it goes: Negative Space is a slinky tune about floating into oblivion; Made To Parade drips disgust onto a glam rock stomp; What The Peephole Say delivers peppy new wave with a sting in its tail. Somehow, the band have maintained their knack for playing different musical styles like they haven’t been invented yet, only this time their innate sense of joy has been spiked in order to face down those demons.

As a QOTSA album, In Times New Roman… is dark and disorientating; for Joshua Homme, it feels like a wholly necessary outpouring of creative catharsis.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Royal Blood, Jack White, …Trail Of Dead

In Times New Roman… is out now via Matador

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