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Published:November 29th, 2009 15:01 EST
Them Crooked Vultures-Rock Crawls Its Way Back Out of the Grave!

Them Crooked Vultures-Rock Crawls Its Way Back Out of the Grave!

By John G. Kays

I haven`t heard a worthy rock record in many years, but then Them Crooked Vultures comes along and saves the day. This Supergroup is having a lot of fun and making interesting music while they`re at it. This is the best thing to rear its head since Cream or Blind Faith stomped their way `round arena-rock corridors.


We have a three piece here with John Paul Jones (bass and keys), Dave Grohl (drums) and Josh Homme (guitar and vocals). No introduction is necessary, the usual suspects of highest caliber rock homage. What we have here is an organic hodge-podge of carbuncling rockers, that take no prisoners and bring home the bacon on a skewered stick, already barbequed into a crispy, tarry beef-jerky.


My process here, the method of madness, is to listen to each song a few times, let it filter through me, then jot down my first impressions without analyzing things too much. The reason I did it this way, is because I believe that this is how Them Crooked Vultures wrote their songs, organically. Don`t take it too literally, but deliberate carefully, timidly when you walk the path!


New Fang was the first song that they worked up, begins with a drum solo, then busts out of the gate to a "Forest of no Return.` The guitar lick throughout is coated with fuzz.


  I`ll step out on a limb now and say that the lyric tries to answer the question of how can a rocker gain virility in order to perform at a requisite decibel level in this genre? New fang, no thang. Had it made to parade, found a sucker, now I want another. "


Elephants is a sound collage with lots of unique sections glued together, seamless though? Grohl`s lumber cruelly crashes gentle calf skin, quirky short Homme guitar riffs wail in squealing kinesthetic patterns of control.


The lyric is a military invasion of sorts, perhaps Hannibal`s landing in Italy and snickering triumphantly at his exploits. Like lumbering giants at a shameful parade, we came to ruin all, and make a rotten trade. "


Scumbag Blues, the best track here, is a staccato thumper, with the bass of John Paul Jones in your face and your gut. It`s Creamish with a Jack Bruce falsetto vocal by Josh Homme and a lower register creaking keyboard of John Paul Jones.


Bandoliers are belts worn by soldiers to carry bullet cartridges. The metaphor of mercenaries continues through. Great dissonant melody against a throbbing rock beat. The rumble is with his lady-love on this outing. Bandoliers to fight me, dear, nobody caused the rift, we just grown apart now so. " Jones perfects it with a candy-coated keyboard part.


The narrator is a bad-boy vulture who lures the naïve into his rock-dungeon, a grand inquisitor who plans on toasting any little critter who wanders into his domain. Innocence has no resistance against a wicked counselor as I. You won`t make it out. "


Reptiles blisters, it paces like a lion. The music is jittery, jaunty, in fits and starts. Thunderbolts! Pulsates across the canvas, ominous, threatening "day of reckoning, back to the age of dinosaurs when huge lizards roamed the earth.


  See them reptiles crawl " Getting closer. Why won`t someone come to drive them away? " Reptiles cruises, it pulsates, it grinds, it kicks your butt aloft, into the air like a Superbowl chunk a leather in the final two minutes!


Interlude with Ludes is an odd, slower one, a raga-rock number that especially stands out for Dave Grohl`s pounding tom toms. A meandering loose reverb guitar part textures with hypnotic effect a browbeating narrative. The voice is probably an assassin who is trying to lure a lady-love with his dagger acumen. I`m trained and licensed and armed to the teeth. "


Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up builds up to a boil, getting faster and harder as it goes, rolls down the hill like a snowball. Bass, drum and guitar form a triumvirate or spear-wedge at the Battle of Thermopile. Spartans of Rock on a mission of God to blow you off your potato-couch and dance the jig in your pajamas  `til the crack a dawn! The build up is a NASA rocket launch! Feel like a no tell, motel painting. " Ball buster, so take that!


Gunman is peppier, bouncier in rhythm, but continues with the theme of violence and political intrigue. The chorus is the main hook with an undulating minor-key melody that is dripping in reverb and doomish ponderance.


 The speaker lives in a horrific totalitarian state, on the other side of the Iron Curtain, with barbed wire, machine gun turrets and killer lions, and bad-ass ants. Follow the leader yet lead `em the same. Slugs punctuate the refrain, come again? "


Very solid rock record! Haven`t heard a good one in many years. Afterall, I thought rock was dead! Didn`t I go to its funeral some twenty years prior? But a resurrection of sorts, a climb out of the gravelstone sepulchers by these crustaceous reptilians, TCV. Supergroups are back, my friends, so pull out your Cream, Blind Faith and King Crimson, and also the Carnival Funlands of Them Crooked Vultures. P.S. Stop analyzing things, partner!