Them Crooked Vultures fits the classic definition of a “supergroup.” With Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Them Crooked Vultures consists of musicians that understand how to find success in the music industry. Their self-titled debut album shows a smoothly crafted twist on each of the artists’ rock roots.
Fans of Queens of the Stone Age will notice Homme’s dominant influence on many tracks. Dense chord progressions and his signature winding wailing guitar lines prevail. Homme’s soloing finds its groove at times and the album is riddled with the crunchy guitar riffs that defined Queens of the Stone Age. The album also showcases Grohl’s forceful drumming and keen musical senses. The influence of John Paul Jones is somewhat less noticeable, although the music leans toward Zeppelin-like blues-rock on certain songs, namely “Scumbag Blues.” For those in need of good conventional rock music Them Crooked Vultures will hit the spot.
The album contains a few very polished songs, but its main problem is a lack of any truly memorable tracks. The album’s single “New Fang” features an interesting slide guitar chorus and Homme’s recognizably ineffectual vocals, but is overwhelmingly mediocre and fails to evoke any emotion from the listener. “Elephants” is an endless series of guitar riffs that goes absolutely nowhere and “Mind Eraser, No Chaser” attempts a digital solo that is simply beyond the band’s reach.
Overall, Them Crooked Vultures’ eponymous first album is bound to disappoint. The group meshes well, but has a hard time creating anything more than skillful jamming. The combination of the three accomplished rockers sounds too good to be true and it very blatantly is.