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Music Review: Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On

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Eagles of Death Metal are from a different time and possibly a different place. Joshua “Baby Duck” Homme and Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes, the two musical warlords behind EoDM, more than likely pulled themselves up off of the shag carpeting in a maroon-colored van and pushed aside six ashtrays to get the day started. And sure as the light of day is obscene on the face of a hung-over garage rocker, EoDM will own your face.

As flamboyant as the lights at Studio 54 and as irreverent as a former child-star turning tricks for glowsticks, Eagles of Death Metal actually don’t play the style of music more associated with growling vocals and grimy hair. But, so the story goes, the name came about when a friend of Boots Electric’s was trying to get Baby Duck into death metal using the band Vader. Baby Duck noted, perhaps precisely, that Vader sounded like “The Eagles of death metal.” And the rest is history…

The band Axl Rose dumbly dubbed “the Pigeons of Shit Metal” to a swarm of mulleted cowboys is now on to their third album. Heart On finds EoDM pushing a little harder and experimenting a little more, adding a drop of low-fi righteousness to the mix of blues, 70s rock, and exceptionally great mustaches.

Starting shit off with “Anything ‘Cept the Truth,” Heart On is one of those truly kickass rock records that hits all the right notes and delivers the goodies in hard-nosed style. Witness the sweltering riffs, dig the hand claps, marvel at the swagger of it all. “I only smile when I tell a lie,” Hughes tells us on the opening cut over a sea of scuzz rock.

It would be easy to dismiss these badass Eagles of Death Metal as some sort of two-bit comedy act or a spoof band like The Darkness or Metallica, but there is much more going on here than meets the eye. In between the ear-splitting, feverish guitars, Heart On seamlessly integrates a core of golden wisdom and introspection.

The album’s central ballad is one such moment. “Now I’m a Fool” could be about lost love or sturdiness or bluster or Hollywood. One thing’s for sure, though, it’s a damn fine rock tune. Coated with self-awareness and given a startlingly gentle dose of backing vocals from Baby Duck’s “subtle lines, oohs, aahs,” the song works every way it should.

Heart On is really about fun, of course, despite some delicate moments. “(I Used to Couldn’t Dance) Tight Pants” has big brass balls and swells with killer riffage, howling-mad vocals, and a yummy keystone of disco charm. “There ain’t no parking on this dance floor, now step aside….tight pants!”

“How Can A Man With So Many Friends Feel So Alone” finds EoDM wearing the Rolling Stones influences on their sleeveless shirts, punching out a riff Richards would be proud of over a track that aptly tinkles with piano and boogie-woogie tone. And “Cheap Thrills” gives us another lethal riff that is sure to make you want to make babies and backing vocals from the Eagle’ettes (Brody Dalle, Kim Martinelli, Erin Smith, and Kat Von D).

Packed with basement bass lines, riffs that Satan will be giving kids for Christmas, impenetrable vocals worthy of only the finest gods of rock, and enough adroit pageantry to make Axl pray for Japanese Socialism, Heart On is a rock and roll glam/garage record designed to make it hot and sticky all night long.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Great review…but really, Metallica are a spoof band like the Darkness?

    -Glen

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Excellent Review, Jordan…

    I got psyched and went to youtube to give a listen to some tracks…and…This album f*cking sux! The review was much more enjoyable than any of their songs.
    I mean, you’re pretty much dead on,nowadays, about Metallica & The Darkness but as much as I can’t stand that steam whistle of vocalist, Axl hit the nail right on the head. Believe me, I get the humor but their music bores me to f*cking tears. Though, I would be much more upset having to sit through a Sebastian Bach set.

    “Sebastian Bach … they ate up his hair metal hits from the ’80s and the new stuff, which sounded like the old stuff”[mtv.com]

    Those people must be f*cking deaf!

  • http://www.purdie.co.uk/ dished ends

    I have no idea about death metal.Please give me a small description in that.Thanks in advance.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’ll tell you what death metal is if you tell me what “dished ends” are. Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Like Glen, I too was surprised by your reference to Metallica as a spoof band. Also, you seem to indicate The Darkness doesn’t have “golden wisdom and introspection.” Now that’s fine if some cynical types don’t believe in a thing called love, but there is surely a lesson to be learned from the song “Get your hands off my woman” m*therf*cker

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    wow, rock that’s actually fun! heh, that axl rose drips with class and irony.