Iggy Pop and Josh Homme merge art-rock with Detroit punk on ‘Post Pop Depression’

Conor Battles, Editor-in-Chief, Arts & Entertainments Editor

It’s a match made in angsty-teen heaven: Stooges frontman, Bowie disciple, and all-around rock legend Iggy Pop collaborating with Queens of the Stone Age’s stoner-rock hero frontman Josh Homme. In theory, it would be a revelatory record, a cohesion of two distinct eras of rock music that bridges the gap between the old guard and the new. Really, who wouldn’t pay to hear Iggy in his prime snarling over Homme’s trademark crushing riffs?

Ultimately, on Post Pop Depression, the duo went in a different direction, culminating in a combined effort that has more in common with Bowie’s final bow, January’s Blackstar, than it does with Raw Power or Songs for the Deaf. Its influences lie more heavily in Lou Reed’s and Brian Eno’s artsy, avant-garde experimentalism than in traditional rock structure. Iggy and Homme are supplemented by a tight backing band, including Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders and former Homme bandmate Dean Fertita, but to call Post Pop Depression a “rock” album is something of a stretch. Still, as unexpected as the finished product is, it’s an interesting result.

Iggy’s voice has become more reserved, less couched in punkish aggression. Indeed, he takes on a crooner’s lilt on some tracks, hamming it up over Homme’s deft rhythm work. Homme, to his credit, continues to set the gold standard in modern rock for impeccable, tight guitar work and melodious backing vocals.

Taking in the bold new sonic directions that Iggy Pop has taken his decades-honed sound in is a heady task. It’s a puzzling trend, considering the relative success the reunited Stooges have had in the last half decade, but in an odd way, it suits Iggy. He embraces his elder-statesemanhood with all the grace the man responsible for “I Wanna Be Your Dog” can muster, and Josh Homme is the perfect muse for Iggy to experiment on/with.

Ultimately, Post Pop Depression is an interesting record, if only for just how unexpected its pulsing quietude and pervasive strangeness is. It’s not quite a return to form for either man, but it’s an enjoyable experiment that yields inconclusive results.