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Music Review: Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On

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Straight out of the gate, Heart On—the most recent album from Eagles of Death Metal—starts rocking. Released fall 2008, the album packs punches of two to four minute blasts of alcohol, sex, and testosterone-tinged rock and roll with calculated reckless abandon. Heart On successfully blends the old-school rock of bands such as The Rolling Stones and Canned Heat with the quirky, upbeat parts of Queens of the Stone Age mixed in with a dash of R&B and funk elements for extra flavor.

Eagles of Death Metal began as the brainchild of Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Jesse Hughes—a childhood friend of Homme. The first appearance of EoDM came on Homme’s Desert Sessions Volumes 3 & 4, and to date, the band has released three albums from 2004 to present with Homme and Hughes being the chief collaborators.

Heart On has a lot to offer fans as well as people who are new to the band. For example, the songwriting is more varied than in previous efforts, opening the band up to a wider demographic and showing those already familiar with their brand of rock another side to their music. With the greater exercise in creative freedom, the band’s R&B and funk influences are fleshed out a tad more than they’ve been before, and the slight change of musical scenery is a welcome twist. Moreover, the instrumentation seems to differ a little more, but if it isn’t a difference of instruments, it’s an innovative take on the tried and true elements of the band’s sound. Hughes and Homme do a good job of keeping the guitars sounding fresh with each song on this album, which was a point of contention for me when listening to previous offerings. In the end, the music makes me want to dance, and I’m a guy who doesn’t dance. When listening to the album, I find myself shaking my butt to the catchy guitars and drumbeats so ladies and guys alike might find something to get out to the dance floor for.

When listening to Heart On, I don’t have many complaints. Honestly, the only beef with the product I can even muster doesn’t bother me that much. On the first two albums, it seemed EoDM was Hughes’ band guided by the well-meaning hand of Josh Homme. Now, however, Homme appears to be taking a much more hands-on approach with songwriting and production. Whether this is bad or not will depend on the listener because some may deem this album to have too much of a Queens of the Stone Age feel, but personally, I enjoyed the change.

The overall experience with this album was pretty fulfilling, and I’d highly recommend it. Essentially, it’s adolescent rock that is trying to grow up and happens to contain some adult themes (SEX!). The music was meant for boys and young men, but older guys may want to check it out to hear a new take on some good ol’ rock & roll. Oh, yeah, the girls are invited, too.

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About Jerry Stegall