Pearson Jones

Them Crooked Vultures is a new band with a lot of history and nothing to prove, because they already have. That’s what happens though when your basses is John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), a musical shining golden god who has announced his return finally after three decades by joining up with two of Zeppelins most devout followers, Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.

Overly glorified and most undeserving of the label, super-groups have never had a high success rate; unless you were one of the few die-hard Slash fans who thought Velvet Revolver succeeded in becoming a mock-up of a new generation Guns and Roses. An album can be bombarded to death with ideas when you get so much talent in one room. Sometimes too much of a good thing is the one thing you don’t need.

Them Crooked Vultures is their own deal, though. They don’t commit to just one style of the trio, though they do subtly rob ideas and formulas from their previous projects that made each one of these musicians into the legends they are. This album isn’t Zeppelin homage, even though Grohl and Homme probably would have followed Jones like a pied piper to a Led Zeppelin V if he wanted to.

The group can be broken down to Grohl being the bronze, finally resurrecting his instantaneously recognizable merciless drum sound that can be heard on Songs for the Deaf, Homme, the brain, bringing his haunting voice and knack for creating bizarre ideas that some how work, and Jones being the inspiration for the other two while proving his long hiatus hasn’t taken its toll on his rock n roll mojo.

The album is introduced with Grohl drumming out a beat that John Bonham would even have smiled at.
The first track, “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I,” is just dripping with groove, as Jones brings back bass lines that haven’t been heard since “Black Dog.” Midway though the track though, with a quick grunt from Homme, the song morphs into a angry dog and cat fight between the sounds of Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age that perfectly intertwines into something that breaths a completely new life into the song. A perfect example of the harmony that exists between these three guys.

The few tracks that do resonate some Zeppelin presence are not, thankfully, overly overpowering. “Elephant,” which is a neatly packaged track cataloguing what seems to be almost every Jimmy Page riff, still doesn’t fully forfeit to the Zeppelin sound.

Then there is “Reptile,” a track that sounds like a B-side off of In Through The Outdoor, but Grohl and Homme bring it up more into this century.

Then there is other tracks, like the Josh Homme acid trip through the dessert “Interlude With Ludes,” that completely breaks away from anything that the three musicians have ever done.

Other highlights include “Warsaw Or The First Breath You Take,” a sly, slow-paced tune that gives you a break from having your head banged in by Grohl’s unnatural intenseness. Homme falls short on this track though by unveiling his one handicap, solos that last over 10 seconds. Half of the song is the three jamming out but Homme seems to slowly fall behind instrumentally against giants like Grohl and Jones.

Them Crooked Vultures have become the missing link between classic and modern day rock. They don’t fully reflect either pasr or present, but instead maybe a musical future where we aren’t forced to listen to the same “clone radio” bands. The effortless fuse that has been created between this legendary trifecta is something to behold and recognize, because who knows when something like this is going to come around again.