Sound — 9
More than two years after his well-documented firing from Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Oliveri releases the material he had been working on since his 2003 Mondo Generator album 'A Drug Problem that Never Existed'. There's a lot of musicians on this record that haven't featured on previous Mondo work, both members of Winnebago Deal back Nick for the majority of this album. There's backing vocals from the usual suspects (Blag From The Dwarves for example) but this is a different kind of record to previous Mondo Generator. It was recorded at Dave Grohl's studio and his influence can be heard in the smooth production rather than the garage sound that was always a hallmark of Nick's writing up until now. It's still very much a punk record and there's a lot of anger here but there's acoustic guitars in the mix even more so than on Drug Problem. There's even some brass on Take Me Away. This is Nick Oliveri stretching his musical legs. The album could have benefitted from retaining Brant Bjork as Nick's drummer, but the change in direction is refreshing.
Lyrics — 10
Nick was primarily known in Queens for his screaming and shouting, such as on Tension Head, Quick and Six Shooter so much so that people overlook his mellower side, showcased in songs like Autopilot, Another Love Song. There's a bit of both here. There's still a lot of rage inside Nick, and he hasn't forgotten the pain of his divorce from first his wife and then long-time songwriting partner Josh Homme. It's hard to tell which of these he's talking about on Like a Bomb, but the two incidents are very much connected in his mind at least. For a man primarily a bassist his vocal skills are nothing short of amazing. It's a great album to sing along to.
Overall Impression — 9
A lot of the material here would have been considered for recording by Queens of the Stone Age had Nick not left the band. It's fair to say there's a lot here that would work well with Josh, Troy and Joey behind Nick. All The Way Down certainly has more than a hint of classic QOTSA song Millionare (listen to the drums) and I'd love to have heard what Queens would have done with Paper Thin. Overall I think this album is even better than original Mondo Generator record Cocaine Rodeo and is fit to stand alongside Rated R and Blues For The Red Sun as some of Oliveri's best work. It's not perfect for sure, but it's a very listenable record and one I can't stop playing. It marks the transition of Oliveri from bassist/sideman to songwriter/frontman.