That this is Nick Oliveri‘s debut solo release with a full band is somewhat of a surprise to me; his singular vision had hardly been kept in check by working under the Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss and Mondo Generator monikers and hasn’t deviated (pun intended) too much from his work with The Dwarves. This is not a record that reveals more about its maker – Oliveri doesn’t step out from behind a mask and say “Hey, I’m not just the wacky, naked, bass guy, I can do THIS too!“.
Every song on “Leave Me Alone” is tilting towards mania, driving the usual stoner punk clichés towards the edge of reason. It’s exactly what you expect… but worse. In fact it’s hard to believe Oliveri (who plays nearly everything here apart from some lead guitars) hasn’t sung these songs before. Over nine tracks we get to spend time with the same needy, hedonistic show-off who thinks his fuck ups are more interesting than everybody else’s fuck ups. If you’ve ever found yourself bumping into some lonely, agitated space cadet at a festival at three in the morning who insists on boring you with tales of all the drugs he’s taken that day and all the crazy things he’s done, then you’ll have an idea of what this listening experience is like.
I suspect the best bits are contributed by the numerous guest musicians who inject melody into the bluster; the brief Beatles-esque backing vocals on ‘Come And You’ve Gone’ are probably by Dean Ween and the circular Eastern-tinged guitar riff that runs through ‘Robot Man’ may well be by Phil Campbell of Motörhead or Bruno Fevery of Vista Chino. ‘Robot Man’ is the only thing here which is possibly good enough to stand next to his work with QOTSA. Christ, the rest of it is predictable, petulant and depressing!
“Leave Me Alone” as an album title tells you a lot about Nick Oliveri‘s current state of mind, but also serves as a handy warning to those considering giving it a listen.