Album: Zipper Down
Band: Eagles of Death Metal
Production: Downtown Recordings
Price: $11.59 (On Amazon)
Josh Homme starts musical projects like other people make acquaintances, whether it’s basically inventing the genre of stoner rock or organising The Dessert Sessions, a performers’ collective that gathers in California, or forming a supergroup with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and John Paul Jones (the bass demigod of Led Zeppelin) called Them Crooked Vultures. So, in 2006, when Homme formed a band called the Eagles of Death Metal with childhood friend Jesse Hughes, people assumed they would be super, if not exactly a supergroup. And they were vindicated.
EoDM was most recently in the news for performing at Le Bataclan when the horrific terrorist attacks took place in Paris; they lost their merchandising manager in the killings. Ironically enough, the band was there (sans Homme, who usually doesn’t do live performances because of his other commitments) to promote the self-same album we are talking about here. And though they returned to play with U2 at the eternal city, the media concentrated more on the news than the music. Which is a shame, given that Zipper Down is such a good ’un.
EoDM’s fourth studio album, Zipper Down, continues the band’s descent into the garage sound, eschewing accepted norms and churning out their own brand of sound, tongue firmly in cheek. To say that the band’s lyrics and musical intent is dirtier than a used motel bed isn’t exactly an exaggeration. It certainly reflects the duo’s “political conservatism and social libertarianism” (basically the fun Republicans).
For instance, The Reverend, the final song in the album, speaks about Hughe’s ordainment as a Protestant clergyman, earlier this year. However, the album starts off with Complexity, which despite its title is the simplest track in the album, a fairly straightforward garage sound without too many hijinks, whether digital or analog. The rest of the album is similarly littered with word and music play, inside jokes and the total irreverence for anything, the band had become famous for.
Our favourite track, in fact, is the second one, Silverlake (KSOFM), based on an affluent Los Angeles neighborhood, afflicted with hipness in recent years. Telling the story of a poor hipster teddy bear unsuccessfully trying to unsuccessfully talk his way into a club, with an choral refrain of “Don’t you know who I am”, it could be supplanted anywhere in the world. Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village tonight, anyone?
Another brilliant track is their cover of Duran Duran’s Save a Prayer, albeit Tarantinoed with a spaghetti Western sound. And speaking of the sound, this is EoDM’s eccentric best. While definitely influenced by the hard rock psychedelia of Queens of The Stone Age (Homme’s other successful project), Zipper Down is inarguably Hughes’s moment in the sun. Both musicians have played every instrument in the album, a soundscape ranging from knee slaps to hooks which even Peter Pan would cheer to, tremolos and staccatos; and of course here a Wa, there a Wa, everywhere a Wa Wa. And while Homme’s self-attested musical schizophrenia pervades the tonality of the music with a melodic distortion, it is Hughes who really struts through the playlist vocally, his sometimes cartoonish tones nonetheless laced with lasciviousness that goes beyond innuendo. Not to say its all about that three-letter-word. So go ahead. Let them entertain you.