picking over the carcass of “them crooked vultures”

In my very first post on this blog, I mentioned the term “supergroup” in reference to the band Down.  Them Crooked Vultures would also fit into the “supergroup” category, but it’s surprising that with the band’s star power, they aren’t getting a huge amount of attention, in this country anyway – they will be playing several festivals in Europe this year, including the Download Festival in England along with AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, and Aerosmith among others.  They did play on Saturday Night Live in February.

Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) is on drums, Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age) is on guitars and lead vocals, and a true legend of rock is handling the bass guitar duties – Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones.  The sounds produced on their self-titled debut album from 2009 are varied from song to song, drawing on the raw sound of the White Stripes, the bluesy hard-rock of Led Zeppelin and the more dynamic hard rock sound of the Foo Fighters.  There are times when Homme sounds like he’s trying too hard to play guitar like Jones’ former counterpart Jimmy Page, but the Zeppelin-like melodies they produce together is nice to hear.

The opening track “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I” gets things rolling with some heavy blues rock, with a signature Jones’ bass groove providing some head-banging moments.  Jones also does some elegant keyboard work on “Spinning in Daffodils,” and he gets super funky on the clavinet on “Scumbag Blues.”  “Reptiles” is one of the highlights of the album, and is the most Zeppelin-esque of the bunch.  Homme’s voice compliments the other sounds nicely throughout the record, but Grohl’s drumming doesn’t quite make an impression.

I don’t know enough Queens of the Stone Age music to judge, but I’ve seen other opinions that claim a lot of Them Crooked Vultures’ songs are in the same vein (although I would imagine they do not have the Led Zeppelin influence).  But Them Crooked Vultures is an interesting album, a nice conglomeration of styles and influences that certainly doesn’t blow you away, but is good enough to hold your ears’ attention.  Apparently they are already working on a follow-up album, so it will be interesting to see if they offer up any new twists, or just repeat what’s on this album.

Them Crooked Vultures gets 3 out of 5 stars!


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