Sound — 10
Queens Of The Stone Age seems to be the band with the fastest change of personnel. Or is it Josh Homme with some session-musicians now? Anyway, the band saved it's main asset I should say and their third album "Lullabies To Paralyze" just proved that. After the famous for naked-playing skills bassist Nick Oliveri left/was kicked out of the band, Homme, put away his projects Eagles Of Death Metal and the Desert Sessions and with nowdays members Joey Castillo (drums), Alain Johannes (bass), Troy Van Leeuwan (guitar), Natasha Shneider (keyboard) and Mark Lanegan (vocals) recorded a very cool album.
Every song on the album is very individual and has a life of its own. The record opens with a little acoustic ballad "Lullaby", which is a perfect song for a first track -? it puts you in a mystical dark mood and Mark Lanegan's deep voice only adds to its beauty. The follower "Medication" doesn't really suit in here, being a rough song that wakes you up like the sound of the alarm-clock at 7 in the morning. "Everybody Knows That You're Insane" seems like a song from Homme to Oliveri. As Josh says Nick did something that was worse that madness (now I can't stop thinking what that might have been) and that led to his retirement from the band. Personally I think that's a very good song to tell someone what you think about him/her -? not a lot of words in the song and endless "Everybody knows that you're insane" -- a really good expression of your feelings. The sound of grinding knifes, whispering in "The Blood is Love" and "Burn The Witch" makes you think of the old dark times of Jack the Ripper when people were killed on the streets and girls were burned just because someone said "She's a witch!" Boo!
And the record gets only creeper as it goes on. "Little Sister," being the first single from the album, comes from Homme's another project Desert Sessions. That's a wise trick to get more people involved into not a very popular band and to give a song another chance. There are some unusual flourishes on the record, which makes it sound different. In "Skin On Skin" you can hear the sound of a zipper on Josh's pants and candy box, waste-basket and garbage as an alternative percussion. As for the drums, they were recorded in a bathroom to make the sound tougher. You can also hear trombone and trumpet from Disneyland's Main Street Band taking part on the record -? guys find it funny that Mickey-Mouse orchestra make a porno background to a song about sex. "You Got A Killer Scene There, Man" which is definitely my favorite on this album, would be a good soundtrack to one of Tarantino's movies.
The album also got some help from Homme friends -- ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons adds spice to guitar sound through "Burn The Witch," while Garbage's Shirley Manson and the Distillers' Brody Dalle join Queens of the Stone Age with barely noticeable vocals on slinky "You Got A Killer Scene, Man." Even though Johannes and Castillo doesn't make that strong rhythm section as Grohl and Oliveri, I really love the drum parts of most of the song. The changing 4/4 to rhythm all through the album more obvious in some songs (like "Burn The Witch") and less obvious in others fits perfectly in the "haunting" in atmosphere of "Lullabies To Paralyze."
Lyrics — 8
They are as weird as the music is. It all depends on your personal associations. Have you ever had a boyfriend/girlfriend that said he/she loves you to death and told to fuck off the next minute? Then you'll love "Everybody Know That You're Insane." I'd love to sing to my ex-boyfriend. If I ever get a chance. Everything else is just as different, as your personal live experience is. The only song with an obvious meaning is probably "Skin On Skin." Well, you know what it's about.
Homme's vocals blend into the songs like another instrument. Different in every song and not annoying ?- you can notice it's presents just as much, so that it don't disturb you from the music.
Overall Impression — 10
The album was inspired by the sights of a huge desert not far from Los Angeles and it probably gave the record that mystical atmosphere. It would make an awesome background for a sect meeting with voodoo dolls as free merchandise. The best way to listen to it is to sit in a dark room all by yourself in headphones and see where your imagination would take you. It takes a few listens to appreciate the record, but once you got into, you just can't stop -- it has that strong feeling that makes you want to listen to it again and again and the more you listen to it, the more you like it. Though it's not all that good, comparing to previous albums and a few tracks feel a bit like fillers, it's a solid creation and you can hear the Queens' growing "adult" quality. The album rocks and it's definitely not the one soon forgotten.