I imagine that when Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Josh Homme talk about Them Crooked Vultures (and there’s the first interview in tomorrow’s NME, apparently), there’ll be much talk of a creative partnership, a meeting of equals and so on.

I imagine that when Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Josh Homme talk about Them Crooked Vultures (and there’s the first interview in tomorrow’s NME, apparently), there’ll be much talk of a creative partnership, a meeting of equals and so on.

The truth about this sprawling, impressive debut album, though, is that, once you get past the marquee names, it’s ostensibly another Homme vehicle, with an all-star conceit not that much different from Queens Of The Stone Age’s career-topping “Songs For The Deaf” , on which Grohl also played drums. There’s little arguing with the vigour and pace of this rhythm section, of course – as Grohl thunders his way through, say, the accelerated motorik chugger “Dead End Friends”, it’s hard not to think of how much more fun he must be having here than in the increasingly mellow Foo Fighters.

But “Them Crooked Vultures” comes frontloaded with Homme’s musical DNA: it’s his knotted, blocky sense of melody, his guitar sound – a fierce mathematical hybrid of ZZ Top and Devo, very roughly – which dominates these 13 songs. While weaker spirits, in the company of John Paul Jones, would automatically default to Led Zeppelin pastiches, Homme is, mostly, heroically incapable of straying too far from his chosen path. When he echoes an old song, it’s usually one of his: the malevolent stop-start dynamics of “Elephants”, for instance, is not a million miles away from “Song For The Dead”. When he resembles another singer, as on “Bandoliers”, it’s his old sparring partner Mark Lanegan, rather than Robert Plant.

That said, Homme goes a bit goth Bowie on “Gunman”’s chorus, and he does manage a pretty good stab at Eric Clapton on “Scumbag Blues”, a faint relative of “Strange Brew” that confirms, after the Arctic Monkeys suggested as much, that Cream are much favoured at Rancho De La Luna. “Scumbag Blues” also features a needly, overdriven keyboard solo from Jones, very much in the vein of “Trampled Underfoot”.

If there is a Led Zep side to “Them Crooked Vultures”, it’s definitely weighted towards “Physical Graffiti”, the odd “Communication Breakdown” hurtle apart. The monolithic, clod-hopping funk of, say, “Custard Pie” and “Houses Of The Holy” can occasionally be detected – though it’s as easy to compare “No One Loves Me” or “Reptiles” to Homme’s antics in the Eagles Of Death Metal.

Like that last band, Homme can be a touch geeky; a song title like “Caligulove” might be funny with Jesse Hughes, but it feels somewhat gauche in the company of John Paul Jones. Also, while my appetite for eight-minute algebraic jams like “Warsaw Or The First Breath You Take” is unusually strong, “Them Crooked Vultures” is slightly, hairily long – as if Homme, thrilled by the opportunity to flex his muscles in such exalted company, wasn’t quite so assiduous in his editing.

But this isn’t a new problem for him; maybe part of the richness of “Songs For The Deaf” is its excess. Whether the longueurs of “Them Crooked Vultures” turn out to be so rewarding remains to be seen. Still, not bad for a supergroup…