Sound — 9
What had started as a collection of music spawned from days of drug fuelled collaborations in the Rancho De La Luna has since become so much more. The Desert Sessions have come a long way. Made up of old faithfuls (Mastermind Homme, Alain Johannes and Dean Ween) and new recruits (PJ Harvey, Jeordie White and QOTSA messrs Troy Van Leeuwen and Joey Castillo), it's truly the most clean cut volume yet. Is that a bad thing? Not exactly, it's one hell of an album. A good opener needs to catch your attention and possibly inform you of what's going to follow; in both cases "Dead in Love" succeeds. Powered by a guitar riff plucked from some ambiguous era, wrapped around dual vocals; it's dark. So's everything else. Even the 'joke' tracks (a rather rude term, meant for songs where quality went before having a good time) are black, case in point "I'm Here For Your Daughter". It can still rock when it wants to, though, "Covered In Punks Blood" has more energy in 1:43 secs than most bands can stretch out over a few albums.
Lyrics — 9
With so many songwriters and vocalists all working simultaneously, there's always a danger that the end result could become rather messy. Fortunately the quality of these musicians ensures such a thing is almost laughable. Just pick out of any of the non-instrumental tracks and you've probably selected a winner ("Shepard's Pie" being my only exception to this rule). "I Wanna Make It Wit Chu" remains the best song written about sex, since, well Queens of the Stone Age's "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret". The vocals at the chorus ensuring it remains superior to said band's reinvision. PJ Harvey steals the show as vocals are concerned for most of the record; her first lead appearence being "There Will Never Be A Better Time", a track so brilliant yet completely out of place. Her vocal duel with Homme on "Crawl Home" remains one of the highlights.
Overall Impression — 10
This was the first Desert Session to have a single released from it and was followed by two seperate performances under the DS moniker. It was also released five years ago, to date the longest wait between sessions. I mention these things as they seem to reflect the quality of the album, the next has one hell of a job beating it. It's lowest point (I'm not a fan of "Creosote") is still a relative high, though it pales in comparison to the record's peak aka the last two tracks proper, "Subcutaneous Phat" and "Bring it Back Gentle". The former a pure slice of Desert Rock, with the latter being a more straight laced, though undeniably superb track. The next set of sessions are due to start soon, hell maybe they've already finished. Names such as Jack White are frequently mentioned (possibly more in hope than rumour) and in all honesty, why not him? Who wouldn't want to be a part of this?