Thursday, November 19, 2009

CD Review - Them Crooked Vultures

I fired up the new Them Crooked Vultures CD with a level of trepidation. Because I felt like before anyone even heard the band they were over-hyped. I have friends who worship Dave Grohl and he could shit in a bag, post the sound on iTunes and they’d buy five copies and say it was GREAT.

But from the first song I was smiling. This is gooood shit. First off, the sound. It’s raw. The drums are pummeling and it sounds like Grohl is auditioning for the next Zeppelin reunion (he probably is, as a matter of fact). He throws in a few Bonham fills for good measure before the first song hits 1:15.

The guitars are in your face and again, from the first song there is excellent riffage. Don’t forget that bassist John Paul Jones wrote the riff to Black Dog. Need I say more? The same syncopated heavy riffs that add a beat here, take away a beat there to throw you off are weaved throughout these songs. The singing is urgent and one-off. They must have made this CD quickly because that is how it sounds – Excellent players cranking out fresh unprocessed, not overthunk rock and roll. Good for them.

For me, the quintessential track is Elephants. In this song, I hear late 70s era Zeppelin, mixed with the rawness of (believe it or not) The White Stripes (but with better drumming) and fer God’s sake I know squatney about Josh Homme but I personally think he sounds a lot like David Byrne. That is a hell of a combo and it’s one of the reasons why I think this band is so good.

Also, check out Scumbag Blues. Partway through the song, JPJ dusts off the clavinet and it’s Trampled Underfoot part two. Great tune, that Scumbag Blues.

There is some really weird/interesting stuff on the CD, like the track Interlude With Ludes (the song is named appropriately), the latter half of Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up and the closing track, Spinning With Daffodils. It sounds like at the very end of this last track, after the band fades out, Jimmy Page steps in for some slide work. But that is just my overactive imagination plus wishful thinking!

Fellow blogger Seano (who also reviewed the CD here) told me that the band live was a life changing event. I have tickets to see these guys this Sunday in Portland at the Roseland, a theater-like rock club that holds about 2,000 people. Bring it ON, vultures!


rock and roll history said...

Simply put, this album is fun.
You can hear the good time they had making it. Well rehearsed, solid, road-tested material. Not over thought or fucked around with.
You can tell that they went into the studio and blasted off this whole album in a very short amount of time, and had a great time doing it. That's what rock and roll is all about.

harmolodic said...

This is for sure one of my favorite albums of the year, definitely worthy of the hype. Josh Homme's regular gig, Queens of the Stone Age, are pretty awesome as well. If you haven't heard them yet, I highly recommend their first three albums. The third one, Songs for the Deaf, also features Grohl on drums.

drewzepmeister said...

I'm going to have to get this album!

Isorski said...

Harmolodic, I don't know anything about Queens. I will check those albums out for sure, man. Thanks for the suggestion. R&RH, I agree with your assessment - I love un-messed with rock and roll.