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So what does one of the biggest rock bands on earth have to offer with their new album, Era Vulgaris? Answer: Quite a solid album. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE have always existed on their own planet in terms of sound and style and Era Vulgaris does not deviate from this course. The loose jam-session of opening track, “Turning the Screw,” brings to mind a ZEPPELIN jam. The album’s first single, “Sick, sick, sick,” turns up things up with infectious guitar riffs and a stomping beat. “I’m Designer” provides Josh Homme’s social commentary on the ills of his generation and features his ice cool vocals on a damn fine chorus. The song leaves the listener longing for more of the infectious chorus as it seems devilishly too short. “Into the Hollow” features some fantastic sweet, subtle guitar melodics and more of Josh Homme’s sweet vocal lines. Other highlights include “3’s and 7’s,” the ending to “Suture Your Future,” and “River in the Road.” The rest of the album includes a healthy diversity of songs ranging from the rockin’ to the subdued. As things progress, things become less “radio friendly” and more musically stimulating. Era Vulgaris also sees mainman Josh Homme displaying some new vocal style/ranges, particular a higher range. There are a lot of cool subtleties throughout the album that only become apparent after subsequent listens. This only adds to the quality of the album after initial spins. All in all, Era Vulgaris is a quality work that is indicative of the healthy state of the QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE; other mainstreamers be damned. (Interscope Records)