Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable: Leave Me Alone

Former QOTSA loose cannon is back and as unhinged as ever. Be afraid.

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Most people mellow with age, but that doesn’t seem to be an option Nick Oliveri has ever considered as viable. And it’s increasingly clear – from being famously kicked out of Queens Of The Stone Age for being too intense to, rather more darkly, narrowly avoiding jail in 2011 after facing charges of domestic violence, resisting arrest and possession of meth, coke and a loaded rifle – that with Oliveri it’s not mere rock’n’roll posturing.

Dude clearly has some major issues to work through, and on the evidence of this ramshackle solo album, there’s still some way to go before he’ll be ready for his pipe and slippers and a nice, calm sit down.

Much more punk rock, snotty and cartoony than any of his previous bands, Oliveri alone is a wild experience, in the most primal sense of the word. The sound effects speak volumes. The frantic Come And You’re Gone ends with the sound of a man breaking every stick of furniture in a room with his bare hands. Robot Man outruns sirens, a queazy groove setting in as Oliveri barks over the helicopters whirring overhead. Opener Human Cannonball Explodes roars into life with a motorbike engine, a Leader Of The Pack from the perspective of the leader of the pack, revealing he was off his tits and bogglingly insane at the time he hit Dead Man’s Curve.

As for Oliveri himself, he shrieks and he howls, he hisses and drools, he rants and he leers. It’s certainly not pretty, but it’s impossible to turn away from it. Feedback squeals its anguished way across its chaotic landscape, the album as determinedly, dementedly lo-fi as it’s possible to be without actually un-inventing electricity. There’s a moment of atonal respite with the sloppily acoustic title track, but that’s soon blasted away with the eye-popping full-pelt garage punk of The Void.

It’s a solo project, but for all his insanity, Oliveri still has plenty of friends to call on, and so we get Motörhead’s Phil Campbell, the Dwarves’ Marc Diamond and Ween’s Mickey Melchiondo among others relishing another chance to let rip in their guitar cameos. However, seething with paranoia and instability, and threatening to fall apart at any moment, this is uneasy listening without finesse or direction. Yet somehow, you get the feeling that that was Oliveri’s point all along.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.