Queens of the Stone Age

The loss of original member and bassist Nick Oliveri has sucked the life out of Queens of the Stone Age, leaving front man Josh Homme to lead his band without the screaming bassist to add a necessary spark. Some songs on Lullabies to Paralyze are just as rocking as past efforts, particularly super-short opener "Medication" and the White Stripes-ish "Burn the Witch." But with no one to restrain him, Homme allows many of the stoner-rock songs on Lullabies to prattle on for too long without a significant punch. The cowbell-heavy "Little Sister" and the fuzz-bass blast of "Broken Box" offer hints of the fun heard on 2000's Rated R and 2002's Songs for the Deaf, but the weird effects on Homme's guitar solos muffle any potential explosions, and his vocals sound dull and uninterested. In fact, on "Everybody Knows That You're Insane" and "I Never Came," he sings like the wimpy Chris Cornell heard on Euphoria Morning. Ultimately, Lullabies suffers by comparison. The album twists the prog-rock formula in a catchy way, but Rated R and Songs for the Deaf did so with more excitement and less filler.

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sam Machkovech