Worried about producer Mark Ronson parping his brass sections all over Queens’ sacred desert rock riffs? Worry not. Within the first 90 seconds of ‘Villains” opening track ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me’ – an apocalyptic rumble that builds into the kind of gargantuan, guitar-stabbing strut that’ll make whole arenas simultaneously lose their minds – it’s clear that Josh Homme and co have lost none of their ferocity. If anything, Ronson simply fine-tunes the swagger that’s been there all along.
Lead single ‘The Way You Used To Do’ is their most hip-swinging offering to date, while the hyperactive basslines and relentless pace of ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’-esque highlight ‘Head Like A Haunted House’ show Homme’s musical tutelage of Alex Turner might run both ways. Even on its stormier moments, (the ‘Telegram Sam’-nodding ‘Un-Reborn Again’; ‘Domesticated Animals” deliciously crunchy, dirty riffs), the record never loses its sass. As a whole, ‘Villains’ is the Californian filthmongers’ most danceable offering yet – and all the better for it.