It’s easy to tell who Louisville sludge-rockers Young Widows have in mind on lead single “Kerosene Girl.” Evan Patterson’s vocals are the chaw-spitting image of Josh Homme’s — brawny, but implacably seductive. The guitars have been completely gutted of their treble; he might as well be playing an instrument made of vulcanized rubber. Moreover, it’s called “Kerosene Girl,” its subject sexualized but still in the realm of muscle-car fantasy. If you missed QOTSA’s grotty Desert Sessions incarnation, in other words, “Kerosene Girl” fills that void handily.
Of course, QOTSA’s popularity exploded the moment they showed they have far more range than just that, and Easy Pain makes it painfully easy to recognize that Young Widows don’t. There’s plenty of stoner rock churn, but little spark. At times (“The Money,” “King Sol”), they thrash with enough velocity to compensate, and it’s easy to picture them as a searing live act. But the muffled production renders the whole affair like mud wrestling — satisfying on a primal level, but the movements are indistinguishable underneath the murk.