A song like If I Had A Tail is one of those Queens of the Stone Age songs - like No One Knows, Regular John, and Feel Good Hit of the Summer before it - that you just want to get down and dirty with as it stomps along, then arcs off into something more twisted, before settling back into a delicious, melodic groove. And Fairweather Friends - the song with Elton John on it - is similar. Honestly, you just want to roll around with it and wrestle it, as it ramps up to its slamming, dramatic crescendoes.

Songs like that prove, once again, that Queens make the most interesting rock 'n' roll music around today. No question.

... Like Clockwork is the band's first album in six years after Lullabies to Paralyze in 2005 and Era Vulgaris from 2007, which were both good, but not a patch on tough and fiery 2002 classic, Songs for the Deaf. Though a very different album, ... Like Clockwork is up there with Songs.

Opener Keep Your Eyes Peeled, with its deathly, shin-shattering bass twangs, cocksure beat, and cagey guitar squalls, is the perfect start to an album - and it could be no one else but Queens of the Stone Age. And then the trademark boogie woogie riff of I Sat By the Ocean kicks in, with band leader Josh Homme sounding better than he ever has as he flits between falsetto, a cool whine and then a melodic soaring serenade in the chorus.


The dynamic between the songs is perfect, with the rampant, scorching My God Is the Sun giving way to the seductive tranquillity of Kalopsia. And the dynamic within the latter track is something in itself, as it starts out romantic and poised before crackling into life with Homme sounding like Bowie ripping into Suffragette City.

Of all the Queens albums ... Like Clockwork, for want of a better couple of words, is the most mature because in the past Homme has had flippant, smart-arse moments. Even slower tracks, like Smooth Sailing, are powerful and muscular; and the title track is pensive and sweet-sounding, with orchestra-like grandeur.

It's not quite Songs for the Deaf, but then that's being picky, because ... Like Clockwork is bound to be one of the albums of the year - and by year's end, with a little more playing, it's likely to be the best.

Stars: 5/5
Verdict: Well worth the wait
Click here to buy ... Like Clockwork.

- TimeOut