Holy fire! After a teaser campaign that’s lasted even longer than the one with the mythical Beyoncé record, we finally heard some new Queens Of The Stone Age music last night. This was perhaps the only major new story of the day anyone has yet to put a hilarious Thatcher twist onto, although you suspect someone somewhere is making a GIF that morphs notable gingers Josh and Maggie.
As you can probably tell from the title, ‘My God Is The Sun’ comes from the more occult end of their spectrum, Josh at the ‘operatic druid’ end of his range, wailing with portent about how it’s “so good to be an ant who crawls atop a spinning rock” as the band’s fearsome guitar/bass/sticks axis spirals from righteous sludge reminiscent of ‘Hanging Tree’ to the dizzy vertigo of their highest ever peaks. It sounds like a cut from their first record with drama amped up to ‘blockbuster’, a sprawling rocker that when it hits its money shot, rises to become actually jaw-dropping.
The curious way singles and online exclusives and teaser tracks are released these days makes it tricky to work out whether this is intended as the first ‘single’ single from ‘…Like Clockwork’. It’s perhaps a little too dense to sit in the tradition of your standard first radio single, which itself implies that if it is intended as that, then we’re heading for some incredibly fucked-up places on this sixth album. Actually that sounds like it’s for the best; news of the return of Dave Grohl to the drumstool had prompted many to predict a return to the radio stylings of ‘Songs For The Deaf’. Yet actually, nobody involved is dumb enough to try and repeat a moment in time, especially when there are so many other new desert adventures to get lost in. I’m sensing that ‘…Like Clockwork’ is going to be denser and more thrilling than ever.
Speaking to Zane Lowe last night, Josh gave little away in typically tantalising fashion. “I feel like a weight of monkeys has lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “Every once in a while this process is difficult. This is documenting the journey of moving forward and it was a tough time… Not to get all Beatles on you, but [I] just Let It Be.”
Whatever fresh dramas have befallen QOTSA, all will soon be revealed, since we also learned last night that the record is due less than two months away on June 3. And it’s turning out to be one of the most anticipated records of the year, going from the reaction on NME.COM to their every tiptoe. Part of that of course is down to the mouth-watering list of guest-stars: as well as the return of Grohl and some vocals from the exiled Nick Oliveri there is everyone from Trent Reznor to Alex Turner to Jake Shears and Elton bleedin’ John. Those last two last appeared together on Scissor Sisters’ ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancing’, so make of that what you will.
But whether ‘…Like Clockwork’ turns out to be a yowling colossus of dense psych-metal; a pristine radio rocker; a low-slung confessional or a giant homosexual guitar-dance orgy – the excitement is about a lot more than just guest stars. There’s a sense that QOTSA slipped through undervalued last time around, and that after a period laid-down in the woods, a sleeping giant is rising. And that more than anything, is what ‘My God Is The Sun’ sounds like.
Listen to ‘My God Is The Sun’ here. Are the Queens back on song? Let us know below.