Riddle me this: What do you get when you combine the mystic force of Led Zeppelin, the fierceness of the Foo and Nirvana, and the sexy swagger of Queens of the Stone Age? A band so powerful, you will need a stiff drink to swallow this pill. Put on you dirtiest tongue for Them Crooked Vultures, the blending of John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme.
Resumes aside, the music here is not rocket science, and although the term “supergroup” has been dropped on several occasions, within seconds of listening to the album, it is clear that these are three extremely talented musicians (and even better friends) who decided it would be really fun to start a band. Ironically, Dave Grohl unknowingly predestined the band five years ago, when he was making the Foo Fighters album In Your Honor. Both Homme and Jones played on the album, and when Mojo Magazine asked what was next for Dave, he jokingly replied “Well, I am gonna start a band with John Paul Jones and Josh Homme, cause who wouldn’t want to be in a band with them.” It wasn’t until after Grohl saw the Led Zeppelin reunion show in NYC four years later, that his premonition was realized.
And the result? Sweaty, stomping, mind-erasing music that seems to be classic rock reincarnated, packed tightly with back-alley lyrics, throbbing drums, and twisted guitar riffs. The album starts off with “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I,” a comfortable bluesy tune, before falling into pulsating guitar and the masterminded chaotic drumming of Grohl. From here the album jumps straight into the second single “Mind Eraser’ with Homme and Grohl ping ponging the chorus, “All I wanna do is have my mind erased/I’m begging ya, pleading ya, stop karma teasing us all/Drug company, where’s a pill for me?/I call it mind eraser, no chaser.” The album’s lead single “New Fang” is sharp shooting, berating ears with the closet resemblance of a QOTSA song, with the master fingering of Jones keeping you mesmerized.
The chemistry between these three is what really channels the greatness of Them Crooked Vultures. The talent of each of these gentlemen are giant, but it would be lazy and unfair to study the band based sheerly on their previous work. It takes one listen to distinct Spanish flavors of “Bandoliers” or dizzying “Elephants” to realize that each note has been methodically placed, and each lyric hiding a double meaning.
This is music that will make you want to get sweaty, or as Homme states, “You know that I am your dangerous side effect.” Sign your soul on the dotted line, this music is not for the heavenly.