PRETENSION: whether we’re willing to accept it or not, is rife within music, causing young bands to feel the need to meet certain entry requirements in term of the manner in which they carry themselves, dress and interact with others.
This preconceived notion of what a ‘rock ‘n’ roll star’ should be has been incredibly detrimental not only to the audience but to aspiring bands who perhaps had the talent and ended up waylaid by all of the unnecessary posturing.
It’s due to ongoing phenomena such as this that we should continue to give praise for Eagles Of Death Metal, a band so far removed from the realms of precise image construction and harmful self-consciousness that their every release is pined for by a jaded audience.
In typical fashion, Zipper Down; their first album in seven years, sees Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes and Josh Homme cavort all over the landscape of rock ‘n’ roll and turn in a record that possesses a genuine sense of fun.
Opening the proceedings with the jolting ‘Complexity’, the band instantaneously issue a reminder for anyone that may have forgotten what makes them so downright likable; turning in a track which brims with jaunty piano, extravagant vocals and a strut like no other.
The crucial, fun-loving ethos at the heart of the band is fully on display upon ‘Silverlake (KFSOM), a composition that is packed full of the sleaziest riffs this side of Rated R and a chorus with features a comical narrative revolving a man’s futile attempts to gain access to a bar despite his ‘lofty’ status. While many other bands may seem as though they’d jumped the shark with such bizarre facets in their music, it comes across so organically that we’re all too willing to embrace it.
With guitar that’s somewhere between The Allman Brothers at their most fired up and The New York Dolls during their short lived golden age ‘Got A Woman’ is a track that could quite literally incite a riot under the right circumstances and has seemingly been constructed with the sole purpose of ensuring that people “get movin.”
Lavish in its instrumentation, ‘Oh Girl’ is engrossing from the outset before delving into grittier territory. The track allows magnetic frontman Jesse Hughes to make excellent use of his unrefined yet accomplished vocal style, delivering a heartfelt and lustful plea to the object of his affections that never once dips in its overlying intensity.
Despite the fact that tracks such as ‘Got The Power’ and ‘I Love You All The Time’ could inarguably fit seamlessly onto any of their previous albums, to critique a band such as Eagles Of Death Metal for a lack of musical evolution is to entirely misinterpret their mission statement. They ply their trade in muscular, infectious rock ‘n’ roll that’s designed to appeal to the most animalistic of senses and that’s precisely what they do time and time again.
Setting off with wonky synth and a plodding pace, ‘Skin Tight Boogie’ sounds incredibly robust and emphasises the inherent effectiveness of Josh Hommes’s relatively stoic drumming.
Injecting a healthy dose of rugged, Exile On Main Street era Stones into the record, ‘Deuce’ sees them absolutely master the alchemy of bluesy rock and demonstrate precisely why fans have been awaiting the new record as though it were salvation from the mundane and guarded style of many of today’s titans. It’s almost unfeasible to think that anyone who’s ever proclaimed themselves to be a fan of guitar music in any of its many forms would take anything less than unadulterated joy from such a brazen foray into the genre’s ‘classic’ era.
Things continue in the same vein on ‘Save A Prayer’, an invigorating affair that’s complete with some magnificent backing vocals from Homme and a chorus that has all the attributes to burrow straight in to your mind and ingrain itself. With lyrics pertaining to a particularly sultry endeavour with the opposite sex, Hughes manages to mythologise the concept of a ‘one night stand’ and keeps the listener hanging on each and every innuendo laden remark.
Gloriously high-strung from the minute that the guitar first bursts into life, ‘Reverend’ sees EODM put on a clinic as to how to round off an album and leave your audience feeling as though what they’ve just experienced is a band at the very top of their game. Filled with ZZ Top-esque self assurance and a ceaseless rhythm, it epitomises exactly why Zipper Down is quintessential Hughes and Homme operating at the very top of their game.