Them Crooked Vultures – the super-group formed by Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones – release their self-titled debut album on November 17. There will be a full, considered review in the issue of NME onsale the week before that, but seeing as we’ve just had the album on the stereo, here’s a snap, first-listen, track-by-track response.
No One Loves Me
Kicks off with an itchy, bluesy riff before settling into a libidinous sex-groove in the tradition of QOTSA’s ‘Make It Wit Chu’ (sample lyric: “She said, I got a beautiful place to put your face – and she was right”). Mutates into a skronking wig-out halfway through.
Mind Eraser No Chaser
Dave Grohl and Josh Homme trade vocals over a deranged, stop-start riff, like The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ fed through a mincer. Imagine QOTSA’s ‘Monsters In The Parasol’ crossed with one of the nastier, more guttural Foos tracks, like ‘Low’. Somewhat incongruously, it climaxes with an oompah brass band outro.
You can hear this on MySpace. Staccato rhythms and wildly ricocheting slide guitar combine on this maniacal blues number, vaguely reminiscent of Primus, only not as irritating.
Dead End Friends
Basically the riff from Rocket From The Crypt’s ‘On A Rope’, criss-crossed with stringy tendrils of bottleneck guitar.
A highlight of their Brixton show, it’s a frantic, seven-minute-long update on one of those hell-for-leather Led Zeppelin tracks like ‘Rock N Roll’. Then it goes all cosmic and trippy. Appears to be a warped fuck-you to a former lover: “No, I can never stay melancholy with you for long, before I move on…”
Features a piercingly high vocal from Josh. Dense and psychedelic, punctured by passages of funky clavichord. More of a jam than an actual song. Fun, though.
Has a vague Mexican flavour, summoning images of Grohl, Homme and Jones on horseback, performing a bank heist in some frontier dustbowl town. “Take aim then fire”, howls Josh, recalling The White Stripes’ Hispanic-hued track ‘Conquest’.
A druggy, swampy, acoustic-backed blues. Very ‘Desert Sessions’.
Interludes With Ludes
More druggy meandering. “I know together we’ll make the possible totally impossible” slurs Josh, conjuring a ‘Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas’-style sense of a drugs-party gone terribly wrong: “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I am…”
Warsaw Or The First Breath You Take
Seven and a half minutes of impenetrable riffing. You’ll skip this one.
A squalling, wah-wah pedal ‘workout’. Continues Josh’s tiresome habit on this album of presenting himself as an unstoppable, marauding sexual predator. “I’m the trigger, quick to fire, punctuate betwixt the eyes”. Not sure being ‘quick to fire’ is quite the romantic association you’re after, Josh…
Opens with a cleansing blast of piano. Then more hoary, heads-down noodling.
Spinning In The Daffodils
A final, seven minute-plus, psych-rock orgy to bring things to a climax. You’ll probably want a lie down and a cigarette at this point.
First-Listen Verdict: This is evidently more Josh Homme’s record than it is Dave Grohl’s, or John Paul Jones’s. It’s a muso’s album: guitarists will love it. And it sounds like it was immensely fun to record – you can practically feel the heat from the amps. White Stripes fans will no doubt get a kick out of it. But if you’re hoping for hummable, Foo Fighters-style hooks, forget it.