God Save the Queens
Era Vulgaris translates to â€šÃ„ÃºCommon Age.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s Queens Of The Stone Ageâ€šÃ„Ã´s shorthand for the debased era in which we live and is the name of their fifth studio album. Instantly it has less studio luster than their previous two efforts. Also, theyâ€šÃ„Ã´ve forgone the driving â€šÃ„Ã²follow me!â€šÃ„Ã´ drum rhythm that Dave Grohl’s one-album stint lent to their sound. Although â€šÃ„Ã²The Grohl effectâ€šÃ„Ã´ helped launch them into popular Rock consciousness, theyâ€šÃ„Ã´ve veered away from the more regimented hard metal direction in favor of a slightly more diverse melody. The heavy, hooky, guitars and insistent drums are ever present but they sit deeper within a new found layer of electrical fuzz and wigged-out effects.Era Vulgaris sounds unexpectedly off beat, even for QOTSA. The tracks â€šÃ„Ã²â€šÃ„Ã´Turning The Screwâ€šÃ„Ã´â€šÃ„Ã´ and â€šÃ„Ã²â€šÃ„Ã´I’m Designerâ€šÃ„Ã´â€šÃ„Ã´ feature uncharacteristic pop-like vocals and harmonies over sparse drums, tambourine, cosmic keys, jangling and jagged guitars and a convincing lair of general background cacophony. Lead singer and writer Josh Homme mixes pagan austerity and intrigue. â€šÃ„Ã²â€šÃ„Ã´Into The Hollowâ€šÃ„Ã´â€šÃ„Ã´ and, to a lesser extent, â€šÃ„Ã²â€šÃ„Ã´Suture Up Your Future,â€šÃ„Ã´â€šÃ„Ã´ are like parodies of flower power-era idealism, topped with tambourines and crashing cymbals and a chaser of slide guitar. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s ever so slightly off-message, off-kilter; sometimes uncomfortably so on first acquaintance.
Era Vulgaris sounds spontaneous, like what goes in is only whatever sounds spot-on at that moment; thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s what makes this a great dirty rock â€šÃ„Ã´nâ€šÃ„Ã´ roll album. It manages to sound completely thrown together, almost an improvisation, yet completely right. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a fabulously addictive and effortlessly executed conceit. Slick, sly, hard-hitting, and intelligent, Era Vulgaris is a rare big record with staying power.