Release Date: Oct 28, 2008
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
That string of songs sums up the band's slavish, sometimes exhausting dedication to the rock ethos so well that it's almost a relief when "Now I'm a Fool," Eagles of Death Metal's first honest-to-goodness ballad, ushers in Heart On's darker second half. Whether it's about breaking up with a woman, Los Angeles, or both, "Now I'm a Fool" is one of the album's best songs, its drifting introspection and smooth contours making it stand out all the more among the rest of Heart On's hard edges. From there, the album brings back the rock but remains just confessional enough to reveal a few chinks in the band's armor as they dig into loves, friendships, and nights out gone bad.
Side projects were never meant to last as long as the Eagles of Death Metal has. A former vehicle for Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, the Eagles of Death Metal are turning into a veritable Frasier of rock spin-offs. The band's longevity is made all the more baffling by its unlikely circumstances: frontman of a top-five rock band playing drums? In what is essentially a joke band? You call that a formula for success?The fact that the Eagles of Death Metal made it to three albums -- with a slew of critical accolades, devoted fans and even chart success along on the way -- is nothing but a testament too the enduring popularity of balls-out rock ‘n’ roll.
One of the things I’ve learned from Morrissey’s increasingly flamboyant solo career is that to be a legitimate glam rocker you don’t have to put on a bunch of make-up or even (gasp) wear leather pants. With that said, bandanas, leopard-print leotards and feathery hairdos have always helped to underscore the genre’s overriding obsession with the ups and downs of materialism. As for the dudes in Eagles of Death Metal, they definitely seem to appreciate either approach, proving capable at least now and then of managing their own flamboyance with the same kind of muscularity that makes mid-1970s, hamburger-fed Marc Bolan so weird and interesting.
Any band calling their album Heart On have their tongues firmly in the nearest available cheek, and Eagles of Death Metal descend further into their well of innuendo with titles such as I'm Your Torpedo. Several tracks - notably Solo Thrills, a song about masturbation - have a barely concealed air of debauchery so dark that it's difficult to listen to it without calling a policeman. Making out traces of Josh Homme's regular band, Queens of the Stone Age, is difficult among the low-slung basslines, sleazy guitars and general air of Rick Jamesy naughty funk.
For every Eagles Of Death Metal devotee letting loose the devil horns, there’s usually a dumbfounded friend using those same digits to scratch his head. What’s so polarizing about a pair of sex-obsessed, former high-school pals getting their teenage garage-rocks off, anyway? Perhaps it has something to do with the notion that one of said pals, drummer Josh Homme, saves his “real” art for Queens Of The Stone Age. Or maybe it’s the sheer audacity of singer/guitarist Jesse Hughes’ porn-star mustache.