Josh Homme returns with The Desert Sessions, Vol. 9-10, two more installments of his ongoing collaborations with likeminded friends and musicians. This time PJ Harvey, Ween's Dean Ween, Marilyn Manson's Twiggy Ramirez, Eleven's Alain Johannes, and Queens of the Stone Age contributors Troy Van Leeuwen and Joey Castillo (also of A Perfect Circle and Danzig, respectively), among others, join the festivities. Unlike some of the other Desert Sessions volumes, 9 (aka "I See You Hearin Me") and 10 ("I Heart Disco") stay more or less grounded in the kind of creative stoner rock that Homme purveys with Queens of the Stone Age. Despite the fact that Johannes sings on the opening track, "Dead in Love," the song's searing guitars and insistent grind make it a potential QOTSA track. Likewise, the driving "In My Head...or Something" could easily fit on their next album if it was given a little more punch, as could the dark, parched desert rock of "Holey Dime" and "Bring It Back Gentle." Out of all of Homme's collaborators, Harvey makes the biggest impression, sounding the best she has since 1995's To Bring You My Love. Whether it's because the pressure's off because it's not her own project, or she's just ready to rock again, she sounds freer and more ferocious than she has in a long time on "There Will Never Be a Better Time," a spooky, vaguely Spanish-tinged acoustic number, and slinky-yet-menacing songs like "Crawl Home," "Powdered Wig Machine," and "A Girl Like Me," all of which play her witchy diva image to the hilt. The collection's more experimental moments vary in quality, ranging from the loose, fun faux soul of "I Wanna Make It Wit Chu" and the thrashy workout of "Covered in Punks Blood" to "I'm Here for Your Daughter" and "Shepherd's Pie," both of which were probably more fun to make than they are to hear. Still, The Desert Sessions are intended as a sort of musical notepad, so it's not surprising that some of the ideas here are less sketched out than others. Bearing the project's off the cuff nature in mind, The Desert Sessions, Vol. 9-10 is another success.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares