Monday, October 27th 2008
Reviews: Eagles Of Death Metal
Heart On is the upcoming third studio album from the Eagles Of Death Metal, known to their friends, families and victims as Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme- the latter, of course, being the nucleus and founder of the seminal gloomy sex rock outfit Queens Of The Stone Age. The Eagles’ garage-glam scuzz metal hops up a few rungs on the danceability scale this time around, as they dig into fuzzier blues leanings and deeper shades of chunk-riffage than their previous releases.
There’s definitely something about an EODM jam that appeals to advertisers. Everyone from Comcast, Nissan, Budweiser, Pontiac and Wendy’s to Payless fucking ShoeSource has used their songs in commercials, and that doesn’t begin to cover movie soundtracks (Grindhouse, Thank You For Smoking, etc) video games and waiting room music at Planned Parenthood. Alright I made that last one up, but the point is that Homme and Hughes write some catchy-ass tunes, and at the heart of America evidently lies a long-standing, full-throttle love for 70′s cock-rock pastiche.
Clever, jagged percussion leads the parade more often than not on the album, leading one to believe that Josh Homme is, quite possibly, just as happy behind the kit as he is on the mic. Whatever the case, his playground relationship with Jesse Hughes has spawned three albums of solid sport-fuck rock joy all about chicks, man. And the world is a better place for it.
Opener Anything ‘Cept The Truth has all the rooster-walkin funk love of a hot Queens party jam, a quality you’ll have to come to quick terms with, because that throbbing QOTSA confidence comes through loud and clear on nearly every song.
The biggest exception to that rule, however, is High Voltage, a song soaked in Peaches juice, with all the wocka-wocka porno funk guitars and soul-buzzing bass fuzz a girl could ever want. Yeah, we’re gettin freaky in the shadows of the night…
Another exception would be heartbreak love jam Now I’m A Fool, which takes some cues from Bowie, and strikes me as a good soundtrack for a drive to the coast after a long night of kicking the night’s ass on Sunset. Palm trees and fun / Fabulous sun / Hollywood’s always like that / But nothing is real / Even what you can feel / It’s just illusion / But suddenly you appear / Out of the smoke and haze/ And I think that you’ve got me fallin’ for you / I think that you got me. There’s an unusual air of regret to this one, and Hughes learns his lesson for taking off the aviators and letting down his guard. I put down my guns / And then you went Hollywood on me / Now I’m a fool / I feel like the whole world knows / And I just can’t escape it.
The intro to Secret Plans sounds like Monsters In The Parasol were written in the Vulgaris era. But things take an oddly beachy, summertime turn from there. Hot stuff.
When asked about the album, lead singer Jesse Hughes had this to say: EODM’s latest fabulous weapon, a top-secret music missile, a sonic warhead sexually tipped for her pleasure, shot from the deck of USS EODM Mantastic Fantastic. Sounds a lot like something Mr. Dick Valentine would say. Speaking of, the title track swerves dangerously close to Electric Six territory, and there’s no complaints from this end on that little detail. Come to think of it, those two bands on the same bill would make a hot fuckin’ show.
The midnight-tripping jam Cheap Thrills features Richards-esque string action over some vocal play between Homme and Hughes. It’s not one of Heart On’s power tracks, but the Doorsy atmospherics are an interesting little detour.
Here’s the video for Wannabe In LA the title of which speaks for itself, I’d say. The song is everything awesome about the Eagles Of Death Metal, packed into two minutes and sixteen seconds of spicy Angeleno groove. There’s a Pin Art version that’s kinda similar to NIN’s Only video, but it’s not as cool or funny as this one.
They’ve often been written off as a joke band, much like the Darkness, but Heart On calls bullshit on that notion. If anything, the Eagles prove with this album that it’s possible to ride the sex rock wave in style, mirrored aviators, leather pants, Idol snarl (that’s Billy, kids, not American) and all, and stay above the parody line. Spinal Tap spoof-rock it aint. Where Queens ditches the kegger and dives downward into gut-groove Halloween rock (as Doc describes it), Eagles Of Death Metal stick around at the party, take whatever pills are left, and grab the mic when nobody’s watching.
The minimalist low-riding jam Solo Flights is probably the worst track on Heart On, which says a lot about the album itself, given the endearingly unapologetic sass Hughes is peddling throughout the song: So tired of foolin’ around / Just a one-way conversation / What the sitch is, I scratch what itches / Bravo self-gratification / Nobody does me like I do / I’m just a one-man operation / Beg me to show you the ropes / Well come get your edumacation…
Prissy Prancin’ is a fine piece of falsetto seduction, matching moods with Midnite Vultures-era Beck (by far his best work), but album closer I’m Your Torpedo can do no wrong. He may have flipped frontman duties for a set of sticks and some skins, but Homme’s imprint is unmistakable here. An in-your-face drum start (sounding like a cousin to Dave Grohl’s phenomenal drum intro to QOTSA’s epically awesome Songs For The Dead), gets things into a circular, bass-heavy groove before Hughes gets asses moving with a slutty cowboy melody featuring high-end backing vocal treatments that are Around 1:50, the song sails over the edge for just a moment, everything falling away but the deep bass fuzz and cymbals. It’s only two seconds long, but succeeds in snapping your attention back to center. Homme’s erratic, machine-gun percussion rides hard under the hawk squeals of Hughes’ guitar until they both spiral out and fade down to a whistling outro that clearly just sounds like a guy having a blast, making a guilty-pleasures album that happens to rock tits. The last sounds you hear on the album are either Hughes or Homme, can’t tell which one for sure, saying, That was like whistlin’ Dixie, but somethin’ different, I think. Oh, it’s somethin’ different, alright.
Funktastically fabulous, Heart On doesn’t stray far from the Eagles’ first two records, and that’s a good thing – there’s no need to fuck with a winning formula.
Here’s a hot batch of funny nonsense that’s something of a making-of video for Heart On.
Check out more of that sassy shit right here.
October 28, 2008
1. Anything ‘Cept The Truth
2. Wannabe In LA
3. (I Used To Couldn’t Dance) Tight Pants
4. High Voltage
5. Secret Plans
6. Now I’m A Fool
7. Heart On
8. Cheap Thrills
9. How Can A Man With So Many Friends Feel So Alone
10. Solo Flights
11. Prissy Prancin’
12. I’m Your Torpedo