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Songs for the Deaf

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  • Ah, a day in the life of FM rock radio — as FM rock radio should be…

    Queens of the Stone Age are a blessing of modern rock and roll, a group who doesn’t succumb and conform to all the bland trends found so prominently in today’s music. The first DJ on the album’s car radio announces another day of boring FM rock, when suddenly, from nowhere, Queens of the Stone Age blast into a screaming rage that is more Mariyln Manson than Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters’ sound is promptly more evident on the next hit song, “No One Knows.” And so this diverse album plays out: As the radio dial turns and various DJ’s speak up, so springs forth an eclectic choice of music from one band — all on one unique CD.

    Queens of the Stone Age possess an extremely tight-knit sound that mixes melody with thrash at free will. The guitars often come in spurts, and meanwhile, guest drummer Dave Grohl clicks away on drums with abandon and precision. The cryptic guitars and eerie vibe to songs like “Song for the Deaf,” “Hangin’ Tree,” “First it Giveth,” “Song for the Dead” and “The Sky is Fallin’” all hearken back to a heavy metal age when bands like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden ruled, not that these guys sound like those bands by a longshot; it’s just that Queens of the Stone Age has an aura to its sound reminiscent to where bands like Maiden and Sabbath came from.

    Power pop rock also makes a huge appearance on “Songs for the Deaf,” a la bands such as the Foo Fighters and Pixies: “Go With the Flow,” “Gonna Leave You” and “Do it Again” are all potential modern rock hits on the radio. Simply put, this is the type of band kids in high school get excited about. At times speed metal, at times heavy pop, at times dark metal, Queens of the Stone Age can’t be pinned down to any one sound. The last great tune, “Mosquito Song,” is even driven by a Spanish guitar sound that turns operatic, a perfect closing tune for a perfect album — during one day of perfect FM radio. Similarly, “Another Love Song” has a Spanish flair to it, once more displaying the broad range of this band’s musical tastes, and its willingness to expand on those tastes.

    The interspersed DJs on “Songs for the Deaf” are as diverse as the music, representing a time when rock on FM radio was also more varied. The first DJ pleads, “I need a SAGA, gimmee a SAGA.” Well, this album is definitely the saga he seeks. It’s a blistering synergy of music that is original, fresh, fun and untouchable.

    Posted on February 6, 2010