Dave Grohl's powderkeg drumming added a layer of sinew to the Queens of the Stone Age's latest album, and performing that band's brusque, baked rock seems to have inspired Grohl to muscle-up his full-time outfit as well.
Which is the way it should always be with this band. The Foos have long existed as an extension of Grohl's role in Nirvana, in which he was the beer-swilling populist who hit the drums impossibly hard and somehow drank even harder. Thus they've always been best when putting brawn above brains. True to form, then, there are some pretty impressive rockers on the band's fourth solid if unspectacular album -- namely the shitkicking title cut; the brooding, bombastic "Lonely as You"; and the all-business "Low," which puts the thumbscrews on watered-down modern rock.
But any momentum these cuts create is again tempered by a bevy of pedestrian mid-paced numbers, which shine the spotlight on Grohl's lyrical ineptitude. Thus, when Grohl bellows, "I won't go getting tired of you," all Johnny Mathis-like a few songs in, it's hard for us to respond in kind.