Side projects are sometimes either so good that they become main projects, so dumb that people fall over themselves to rip the shit out of the work of their fallen heroes or they are so bland that they sometimes disappear into the night and no-one mentions it unless as a code word for a secret society. Eagles of Death Metal are a side project for Josh Homme and a pretty much full time one for Jessie Hughes in a way (outside of his solo career). For eleven years they have been releasing records and Jessie has been touring them, it has been a bit of a mix bag with their output. There has always been their moments of glory - "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News), "I'm Your Torpedo", "Speaking in Tongues" - but there has also been material which has not quite reached the same level on each record. Hopefully 'Zipper Down' will be different, for starts it has re-recordings of tracks from Jessie Hughes' side project Boots Electric, off their album "Honkey Kong". The cover is up there with old classic rock covers that will speak to a generation, offend the other generation and be banned from bus stops around the world, I have a feeling this album is going to be wonderfully silly, lets see if I am right....
“Complexity” is a mis-used title as this is anything but complex, this is good time rock ‘n’ roll that the Eagles of Death Metal have always created and it is as easy as a Friday night on the lash. Strong simple riffs, great drumming and a bass line that is easy to rock out to. It is great and fun, it might not keep that level way down the line but it will always sound fun. “Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M)” is a diss track against people from Silverlake (which could be anywhere, but I am guessing is Silver Lake, LA, USA) who are hipster arseholes (aka King Shit of Fuck Mountain) that think they are entitled to the world, you could change the town/city name and it will apply to people that you know. It does have a slight QOTSA sound to chorus section, it is fun to hear and whilst not being essential it brings a laugh to the party. “Got a Woman” is the third track and it can be be described as Neu! on a good time rock ‘n’ roll trip whilst feeling incredibly horny. The drumming is frantic, the guitars are on fire and the song sounds like it is about to explode if a lady looks in its direction, even if it was by accident. It is very infectious with its good time groove that demands further plays, it is stupidly fun!
The swagger is out for “I Love You All the Time” as the mood is slowed down for this love song about the possible end of a relationship, it is done with the tongue firmly in the cheek in a way that would make the Sparks applaud their effort here. Yes it might be throwaway, yes it might be as silly as a politician saying that they are the honest man in a den of thieves; but it makes the world feel so much better for a few brief moments and that is a winner for me, especially when it has a dose of Sparks influence in there as well. “Oh Girl” has the sense of the dramatic going on as well, once more there is heartbreak in the air and a fella is gonna go back after his beloved and needs to be saved. The story is as old as a rock song, as old as the time when people started to tell tales so it is not saying anything new. It reminds me of those love songs such as “Leader of the Pack” from the 1960’s and whilst it does not grab me as much as the previous song, it is still a well-played number that will slot in well to their new live set. “Got The Power” has a sing along chorus that dominates the song, so much so that you are waiting for it to come back around to start sing with the band once more. Is it a deep piece? No, it is not at all as it is not aiming to change your mind; it just wants to make the party lively and bring fun to the proceedings – sometimes you need music like this in your life, if only to make the grey disappear for a few moments. With a crunching amount of distortion, “Skin-Tight Boogie” is a song all about sex (as most songs seems to be about – not just on this album); I really like this for all the wrong reasons as it is even sillier than their usual songs. But once again it is not about being serious here, it is all about having fun and this does it by the truck load.
“Got a Woman (Slight Return)” is just a repeat of “Got a Woman” for 49 seconds much in the style that “Feel Good Hit for the summer” was repeated on ‘Rated R’ and it still has that killer Neu! feeling that made that song such a blast – love it! “The Deuce” is a dance number about dancing to your favourite song with that special person, in a slow strutting number that will either have people dancing or racing for the door. It is good for what it is, there are better numbers on the album for sure but none of them have the swagger to make a room want to dance as this song does. The penultimate song is called “Save a Pray” and it is a cover of the Duran Duran classic given a Eagles of Death Metal shine and polish, you know by this point what you are going to get from this sort of cover and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It is the first song that disappoints, but I think it is because it does sound like a pub cover, even with their best impression of Simon Le Bon and Co for the song and that is a shame. But I have heard a hell of a lot worse, so swings and roundabouts as they say. Ending the album is “The Reverend” and its mission is to end this album in a blaze of glory as the good times are rolling, it is a high octave song that sounds as if the party has been going for so long and there is no sign of stopping any time soon. It ends the album on a high as everything falls into place with it, it is not a serious number but it does not need to be – it is just a rock ‘n’ roll song.
This album is dumb fun, it has a limited appeal for sure and it has the lyrical depth of an empty paddling pool and I do not care – this album have been the right album to come at the right time, it makes all the right moves (well, apart from the cover of "Save A Prayer") and it just does not take itself to seriously which is hard to do at times. You will either love it or hate it as soon as it starts, it is just one of those albums that will appeal to fans of the band and it might pick up a few more people along the way, but it might make a few people shake their heads in a bemused way. Fuck them, they need to lighten up - much like I have needed to do. It might not win many accolades, but it does not need them; it is a cool album that they have been threatening to complete for years – let the good times roll!
8.5 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track – Got a Woman
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