In an era when any band formed by Jack White is considered a super group, it’s a bit refreshing to call this line-up a super group – Dave Grohl leads Foo Fighters and played in an old band out of Seattle, Led Zeppelin had bassist John Paul Jones on bass, and Josh Homme fronts Queens of the Stone Age. These three have easily sold 100 million records between them – that is super.
The word super group smacks of self-indulgence, however, and despite the high points on this record the self-indulgence is sprinkled in too. It may be tiresome to mention Led Zeppelin but I must say this is the first effort including Zep alumni that sounds nothing like them. (Remember Coverdale/Page?) Though Grohl’s return to the skins has that Bonham-like power, this record has riffs galore and the songs sound a lot more like Queens of the Stone Age than anything else this trio has done with their other projects.
Let me first say I have unbelievable respect for Dave Grohl; he is fulfilling every musician’s dream of playing with his idols. When I watched him back up Paul McCartney and play the Beatles classic “I Saw Her Standing There” I had chills. Backing up Tom Petty on SNL – awesome. If you have seen Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones join Foo Fighters on their Live at Wembley Stadium DVD with an amazing rendition of “Rock n Roll,” it’s clear the Grohl is not only a great drummer but a true music fan.
As one would expect, the musicianship on this record is downright amazing. Grohl and JPJ really lock in as a tight rhythmic unit for Hommes’ guitar onslaught. With Hommes at the helm this record is what you would expect lyrically and vocally. The songs are not really memorable but I can remember every cool fill or groove – you might think of it as Songs for the Deaf, Part II.
As a record Them Crooked Vultures does what is sets out to do, calling upon the demons of rock. It’s a fun record to listen to and you can tell the band is having a blast. Rarely does a super group live up to its expectations but Them Crooked Vultures have delivered a solid rocking debut taking all their individual strengths and making them into one cohesive solid unit.
At it’s heart this is a hard rock record with plenty of gratuitous songs about sex with lyrics like “I told her I was rich/she asked could I use a dirty bitch?” There are some classic sounds too though. “Scumbag Blues” kinda sounds like Cream’s “Strange Brew” and there are some cool organ interludes as well. All in all this is not a bad thing. Sometimes all you need is a record that sounds good cranked up your car and that’s exactly what you get from this trio – a big slab of psychedelic rock.