Eagles of Death Metal's Zipper Down is a Shining Light In a Genre Buried Alive by its Own Excesses and Gasping for Air
By: Rylee Strange
The very thing that makes Eagles of Death Metal such an endearing rock’n’roll outfit is the same thing that turns a lot of people off from them; they just don’t give a shit. They’re not out to change the world, they’re not out to rewrite the rock bible. On the contrary, their MO is sleazy, stupid fun. 2015’s Zipper Down is no different from any of their other releases, in that sense. Right out the gate, the opening track (and first single), “Complexity” set the tone, both musically and as a mission statement: “It’s so easy without Complexity.” Strip away any of the pomp and circumstance out of the music and you’re left with pure unadulterated id.
The lyrics don’t break any new ground, even for the band. But it’s not all overtly sexual, shake-your-ass lyrics. “Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M)” puts spoiled LA hipsters on blast, while “I Love You All The Time” sounds like a sincere love song, about a man yearning for a woman who just doesn’t seem to be there for him. Still, it comes off a bit like, “I told you I love you baby, so why can’t we fuck?”
While most of the record falls in that garage/desert rock thing that producer/co-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, ex-Kyuss) does so well, songs like “Skin-Tight Boogie” and “Got A Woman” stray into nearly vintage glam rock territory, full of bluesy grit and glitter spit.
The biggest surprise comes by way of the subdued and honest cover of Duran Duran’s “Save a Prayer”. It could have easily been done as a tongue-in-cheek throwaway, just another hip LA band covering an 80s pop tune that most people have forgotten. Instead, you get a song sung by someone who seems to genuinely enjoy the song, and wants to put his own spin on it, in this case, dirty guitars and a fat synth bass line. Hell if anyone can sing a song about a one-night stand and mean it, it’s singer/guitarist Jesse Hughes. That man embodies rock’n’roll in all its demented glory. This record is proof of that.
The biggest downfall is the shortness of the album, itself. With a running time of less than 35 minutes, that means EODM managed to knock out an average of 5 minutes of music per year since their last release, 2008’s Heart On. The good news is, it was worth the extended wait. There isn’t much below the surface of this record, but that isn’t its intention anyways. Like a good concert, it is merely an escape, a orgasm-burst of energy and endorphins (as well as maybe some other stuff you might not want to get splattered with), and isn’t meant to be studied and dissected for decades to come. It’s an incredibly fun, solid follow-up to Heart On, and worth a listen for anyone who enjoys sloppy, sleazy rock’n’roll for what it is.
As of Publication, the album is available to stream for free on NPR
Release date is October 2, 2015.