Putting the Homme in homage......
Reissues bug me. Big time. More often than not little more than a band’s last ditch attempt to cling onto the vestiges of a once meaningful career in the face of declining creativity, I can’t help but hear the jingle of easy money over and above every note. And it doesn’t make it any better that most bands seem to feel at least a modicum of shame at their all too blatant attempts to prise cash from their fans, sugar coating the pill with the addition of a hastily penned new track, or better still (even less effort required!) some hitherto largely unavailable rarity to justify the album’s re-release.
This reissue of QOTSA's 1998 eponymous debut release is no different; a slight reordering of tracks to allow for the insertion of a few early releases only previously available in limited EP formats feeds into the completist's obsessive need to see it lined up next to the original in their collection, while suggesting to those only familiar to the band's later oeuvre that it is time to take a trawl through the back catalogue before the sell-out single album nostalgia tour tickets go on sale.
But rant aside, as a debut album, re-release or otherwise, this album has nothing new to offer the discerning music fan; from its cover, a scantily dressed pastiche of a whole bygone era of rock album covers, to the tubthumping bass that dominates just about every track, everything here as been done before and better. There’s so little variation between tracks that it’s all too easy to find yourself wondering what to buy for tea or whether you put the bins out last night. Nearly every song settles into a relentless chugging rhythm from the off with Homme’s vocals buried so low in the mix that at times it feels like either he’s singing in a paper bag or you really do need a visit to the district nurse.
The album feels like a whirlwind trawl through the back catalogue of Nirvana, ACDC and Sabbath without the addition of anything fresh or original, so that on tracks such as You Would Know, one can almost smell the leather of Ozzy’s white tasselled jacket wafting through the ether. To someone reared on the delights of Zeppelin and Rush, it’s hard to see anything here that would suggest a lucrative career for either the band in question, or for Homme himself, who seems, along with Dave Grohl to have become the must-have musical accessory of the decade.
Best viewed as a work in progress, there’s nothing on the record that screams must have addition to any rock collection, even for the spottiest of 17-year-old boys. Lads, save your money and nip down to Oxfam instead- they’re bound to have a scratched copy of 2112 that would look far better on your shelves.