Interscope - 2005 - 66 minutes

'Patience is a virtue' sounds like a Queens of the Stone Age song title; it's also the one maxim you need to have ringing in your ears when listening to 'Lullabies to Paralyse'.

When you've given the world songs as immediate as 'The Feel Good Hit of the Summer', 'No One Knows' and 'Go with the Flow', expecting fans to sit back and let songs soak over them is a tall order, but it's the only way to really appreciate what Queens mainman Josh Homme and his cohorts have done here.

Split between the pounding, edgy tracks that Queens of the Stone Age do better than anyone and more adventurous material, 'Lullabies...' sprawls, only to eventually link together and declares that the impact of the departure of bassist Nick Oliveri has - on record anyway - been minimal.

Also gone is Dave Grohl who, as guest drummer on 'Songs for the Deaf', took the last album to another level. His replacement, Joey Castillo, is a fine, fine drummer, but it's here, as a producer, that Homme is found wanting and fails to wring the full potential out of some great songs.

Far too often, the drum sound of 'Lullabies...' doesn't make the grade. It should thunder out of the speakers, but instead the bass drum is a thud in the background, while the snare lacks the explosive whack that made the previous album so colossal.

Had Homme got that right, perhaps the arguments about this being Queens of the Stone Age's best album would rage until long after they've released their next one. Instead you're left wondering at what might have been while also marvelling at some of what you've got.

Homme, you imagine, would relish such contrariness in his public. And make no mistake: this album will be a monster live.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Lullaby - Medication - Everybody Knows That You're Insane - Tangled Up in Plaid - Burn the Witch - In My Head - Little Sister - I Never Came - Someone's in the Wolf - The Blood Is Love - Skin On Skin - Broken Box - You Got A Killer Scene - Long Slow Goodbye - Like A Drug (Bonus Track) - Precious and Grace (Bonus Track)