New Releases: Them Crooked Vultures


After embarking on a series of summer dates to garner some notoriety for the band and their unreleased music, the self-produced debut by this newest supergroup arrives in the wake of much hype and lofty expectations. Does it deliver? For the most part, yes.

Unsurprisingly, Them Crooked Vultures is definitely the sum of its parts: it's hard not to hear the individual talents and characteristics of vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer Dave Grohl, as well as the bands in which they made their respective names, namely Queens of The Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, and both Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. It's also not much of a revelation to discover that the music included herein owes a big debt to the hard-nosed, blues-influenced late '60s/early '70s rock and roll that these guys have seemingly always worshipped or, in the case of Jones, helped popularize in the first place.

As for the songs themselves, it's quite a thrill to hear the trio gel on tracks like the quite excellent "Mind Eraser, No Chaser", the greasy groove of first single "New Fang", the monster stomp of "Elephants" and the Cream-influenced "Scumbag Blues". Not all of it works, though: "Reptiles", "Warsaw", and "Caligulove" are decent but, individually, rarely rise above a collection of cool riffs; the QOTSA-like titled "Interlude with Ludes" is a nice change of pace but not much more than that. Meanwhile, the Nine Inch Nails-meets-Masters of Reality "Gunman" is the band's lone concession to anything resembling modern rock music and yields about average results.

History has taught us that often times supergroups never turn out as well as they do on paper, reducing a possibly interesting collaboration to a vanity exercise meant to give its participants a holiday from their day jobs. Them Crooked Vultures is too good to rank anywhere near that low. But while they are not the pinnacle of this kind of project either, the promise of their debut album is enough to warrant and expect more music from them in the not too distant future.

Highlights: "Mind Eraser No Chaser", "New Fang", "Elephant", "Scumbag Blues"