Vinyl Corner : Queens Of The Stone Age ‘…Like Clockwork’

Vinyl Corner is a new feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect, as well as a brief overview of the music itself. This time, we’re taking a look at Queens Of The Stone Age’s superb sixth album, ‘…Like Clockwork’.

The Music:

When Queens Of The Stone Age released ‘…Like Clockwork’ in 2013, it was their first effort in 6 years. While the intervening time had hardly been quiet, there was enough of a gap between ‘…Like Clockwork’ and it’s 2007 predecessor ‘Era Vulgaris’ that no-one quite knew what to expect, especially from a band who’ve long made it their business to evolve substantially with each new album.

Where earlier efforts had traded in experimental, wonky riffage and petulant strutting, ‘…Like Clockwork’ threw the band, and particularly frontman Josh Homme, into a new, more vulnerable, light. Although the stomping menace of ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’ rivalled the heaviness of any of their earlier work, it was the raw pain of ‘The Vampyre Of Time And Memory’ and album standout ‘I Appear Missing’ that drew most of the attention. Although many were quick to label it a departure for the band, it was really was no more of a stylistic leap than any other effort from the band and remains, four years on, a superb entry into the group’s discography.

The Pressing:

We’re looking at the deluxe pressing here – there’s also a standard issue pressed at a different factory with different specs, so bear that in mind when reading. Spread over two LPs weighing in at the best part of 200g, the album is cut at 45rpm for superior sound quality. Whilst that does mean sides are short here – they’re no more than two or three songs per side – it’s a very small sacrifice for the excellent sound quality found on this pressing. Totally free of surface noise, the songs are lively and dynamic, with the vinyl mastering that only accentuating this. The records themselves are very clean from new, no surprise given that they’re pressed at the well-respected German plant Pallas. This is definitely the best way to hear the album and really does justice to a modern classic.

The Packaging:

Packaged in a gargantuanly thick gatefold sleeve, there’s certainly no faulting the durability of the packaging. Released in a tip-on sleeve, the packaging has an old-school charm about it, more reminiscent of US releases from the ’60s or early ’70s than the often lighter cardboard used on most modern releases. The sleeve is also a little taller than most, meaning it will jut out slightly at the top if stored next to other normal sized LP sleeves – not necessarily a bad thing but certainly worth mentioning. Also included is a really beautifully illustrated 20 page book, glued into the inner gatefold. It’s a nice finishing touch to the package, although personally I would have preferred it to have been a standalone insert, rather than being inseparable from the sleeve itself. Regardless, this is a really nicely presented album and definitely one that does justice to the striking album art.

Final Thoughts:

The deluxe edition of ‘…Like Clockwork’ is without doubt the definitive version of the album. A quality product throughout, the packaging gives a good indication of what to expect from the records themselves and they definitely live up to expectation. Punchy and direct, with nice representation of all the frequencies, this is definitely how ‘…Like Clockwork’ should be heard.