Just when Mr. Homme and Queens were slipping, they go off and record this sometimes hypnotic Era Vulgaris (Latin for "common era"), an album that pumps up low-register guitars and shuns the dark, Kyuss-like tunes common on the band's last record, Lullabies to Paralyze. The drum thuds relentlessly on opener "Turning on the Screw," and Homme's gyrating cyclone six-string oozes with garage psyche (think Detroit meets So-Cal psychedelica). The rock 'n' roll frills continue with "I'm Designer" a seamless, contemporary boogie-monologue about Los Angeles with Homme bellowing, "My generation's for sale, beats a steady job ... The thing that works for us is fame and fortune, all the rest seems like work. It's just like diamonds in shit."
The psych continues on "Make it Wit Chu," a soft, sexual Motown-y turn. "River in the Road" drones of Homme's Desert Session projects with help from former band mate Mark Lanegan. Homme's dusty-trail, garage approach to psych is similar to what The Flying Burrito Brothers did in the late '60s with country. OK, Josh ain't Gram, but, hell, he's damn close.
Dustin Walsh writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.