Rated R - Queens Of The Stoneage (America)

Label:Interscope Records
Highlights:The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret
Better Living Through Chemistry
Monsters In The Parasol
In The Fade

Rating: 8.5/10

Queens Of The Stonage’s second album, Rated R, is a product born out of the desert environment where it was recorded. The sound is sparse and textured while the songs are based around simple and economical guitar riffs along with the weary vocals of singers Joshua Homme and Nick Oliveri. Imagine a cross between The Stooges and Black Sabbath with some early 70’s Rolling Stones and you should get some idea of how Rated R sounds. There is also a middle eastern feel on some tracks thanks to the percussion of The Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin.

Throughout Rated R, Queens Of The Stoneage give the impression of always being in control. They rarely let themselves go, instead preferring to settle down into a groove. When they do, however, the more rocking and immediate songs such as Feel Good Hit Of Summer, Quick And To The Pointless and Tension Head, tend to be the least inspired. Much more interesting are the more introspective, at times psychedelic tracks that make up the remainder of the album, including the sublime Better Living Through Chemistry. Another highlight is Into The Fade, which features The Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan on lead vocals.

Rated R is a highly realised album that is too good to be simply labelled as dumb stoner rock. It is however, perhaps the perfect album to listen to while smoking a joint after a heavy night of rock ‘n’ roll.

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