Queens Of The Stone Age - In Times New Roman

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Josh Homme designed Queens of the Stone Age as a vehicle to encourage the kind of free-flowing collaboration he cherishes. While QOTSA never is as loose as the Desert Sessions, a side project where Homme corrals any weirdo who comes his way into the studio, the band always allowed space to run wild on the margins. That's not the case with In Times New Roman..., the album that follows Villains by six years. There isn't a single guest to be heard on In Times New Roman..., a shift that's felt more than heard; the group haven't abandoned their fondness for sudden detours, yet even these byways feel more controlled than they have in the past. Perhaps the shift is due to Homme living through a rough few years, a time of personal turmoil involving a public divorce and a private battle with cancer, one that was revealed only on the eve of this album's 2023 release. Some of this tumult can be heard within the lyrics, but Homme isn't a memoirist; he has an ear for striking phrases that gain import through a full-band arrangement. By working exclusively with a lineup that's been largely in place for 16 years -- only drummer Jon Theodore hasn't been around that long, he's been a part of the group for a decade -- Homme is able to steer QOTSA toward their essence, laying down a foundation of gnarled, greasy guitars that allow the band either to soar to the horizons or plummet to earthy depths. While the thick, churning grind may feel familiar, it never seems staid, not when QOTSA rely on clouds of vocal harmonies to push them onto a psychedelic astral plane, a shift that can amount to the subtle colorings of "Time & Place" or be as startling as the chorus of "Emotion Sickness." QOTSA don't avoid delving deep into fuzz tones -- "Made to Parade" finds endless textures in its interwoven guitars -- but the amount of vocal harmonies help In Times New Roman... feel vulnerable underneath its roar.

Paper Machete
Negative Space
Time & Place
Made To Parade
What The Peephole Say
Emotion Sickness
Straight Jacket Fitting