QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – “The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret”

Metal lost the singles knack at some point – there is no fan more stolidly loyal than the metal fan, and so tracks by Maiden and Metallica were always guaranteed a decent chart placing, but there was always slightly grudging about the releases: 90s hard rock bands have never been singles acts in the way Motorhead or Alice Cooper or the hair-bands were. The tracks that hit the charts were only marginally less arid and funless than the tracks that sat on the albums.

Now apparently Queens Of The Stone Age have been getting hyped to goodness and back, with the NME going through one of its periodic return-of-rawk spasms and even the Sunday paper columnists twitching an enervated digit or two. I heard some frothing on a mailing list, remembered the name from my days reading Karl’s copy of Terrorizer in the bookshop, and £2.99 later here we are and it’s terrific. First rule of pop, Spike: bubblegum anything is good. And from its pert keyboard line in this is sparky stonerdisco fun of the chewiest kind. The riffing works to build a groove not to grandstand, the chorus is supercharged, and the result is something that’ll keep the longhairs bouncing to doomsday. Heavy on the ears, heavy on the hooks: the metal single is back.