Sound — 9
One thing that is really impressive about this album is its diversity in its sound. It's not your "Ok, we have three guys that can play these instruments, let's make a band." These are highly talented musicians, and it shows. Josh Homme is one of the only people that could've pulled off the singing on this album, and his somewhat abstract vocal style really contributes to making this CD fantastic. John Paul Jones (yes, THAT John Paul Jones, the one from Led Zeppelin) plays a variety of instruments, including bass, mandolin, keytar, slide guitar, keyboard, and the occasional piano-riff. His contributions to the diversity of the sound is incredible, and it really shows off the bands ability to step out of the comfort zone that says, "Will they think we're weird if we do this?" My only complaint is Dave Grohl's drumming. It's not that he's not a good drummer, it's that he just didn't stick out a lot! In places where he beats out crazy-fast fills, he sounds great, so I'd say that if there were any future TCV albums, he should definantly go for making himself heard a lot more.
Lyrics — 8
Ok, ok, the lyrics aren't the greatest in the world. But the focus of this album is NOT the lyrics! It is on everything else that's going on while Josh Homme sings. The lyrics aren't terrible, though. They're just abstract, and this really contributes to what the band was trying to get at in the first place. Josh Homme isn't the best singer in the world either, but his voice was key to making this album sound the way it does. So I'd say, "Don't worry about it, guys, just keep doin' what you're doin', 'cuz it sounds great."
Overall Impression — 10
This is one of the most diverse albums that I've heard this year. There's never a dull moment, and there's always something going on. The musical style IS VERY DIFFERENT; that is what makes it so great, but it's also a vice for some listeners, who will think that the album is strange. Being strange is what makes it a success in my mind. Why create something if you're not going to create something new? The order of the songs is also a winner. A majority of the catchy songs are at the beginning to get you hooked, and the really crazy, in-depth tracks follow, giving you a chance to get used to the style. Overall, the album is great, the musicians are great, and (eh) the lyrics are pretty good, too. But most of all, the music is AWESOME. And that's all that really matters.