Eagles Of Death Metal have always been a band to keep an eye on. Ever since their formation in the late 90s, the duo of Josh Homme and Jesse Hughes has consistently released strong and accessible material. Their unique mix of unceremonious yet impressive songwriting and distinctive garage rock sound enabled them to elude many of the otherwise inevitable Queens Of The Stone Age comparisons, whilst making a name for themselves in the independent music scene. Now, seven years after their last studio offering, they return with their fourth LP – the typically and aptly named Zipper Down. Although the name may not indicate much maturation on the duo’s part, it does foreshadow the group’s continuation of their quintessentially light-hearted and fun-loving approach to making music. Rock ‘n’ Roll influences permeate the record, which is chock-full of the kind of up-front lyricism and unabashed swagger that earned them their following.
Punchy opener, Complexity sets the tone for the rest of the album with its seasick, lurching guitar lines and familiar faux lo-fi production. This is followed by Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M), wherein Hughes’ croon of “Can you not the see the style of hipster I most surely am? / I’m trying twice as hard as anyone you just let in” brings to mind the more tongue-in-cheek portion of the band’s back catalogue. Regrettably, the album isn’t quite free from the filler material one might come to expect from modern rock groups. The aforementioned rock ‘n’ roll inspiration takes hold slightly too much on Got The Power, rendering the track repetitive and unremarkable, whilst the sludgy realms of Skin-Tight Boogie are hindered by the unfortunate over-reliance on a couple of good riffs.
Luckily, the groove returns for The Deuce, whose unashamed rockabilly foundations provide an infectious bounce which complements the track’s devil-may-care lyrics. The penultimate track Save A Prayer is somewhat of a mixed blessing. While it is a bold, gritty and refreshing take on the original Duran Duran version, it remains somewhat disappointing that one of the most interesting songs on this LP is a cover of another group’s work. Frenetic final track, The Reverend closes the album with the same vigour with which it began, its swirling mesh of distortion and blues-inflicted groove really hammering home the sound and attitude of the record. The duo’s ability here to incorporate religious lyrical content and expeditious garage rock riffs seamlessly into the same track is typical of their tendency to avoid taking themselves too seriously, and is a fine end to the album.
With this LP, the band offers another collection of striking, well-written music. Although there is not much stylistic evolution to speak of here, the band has managed to maintain the same fairly high standard set by their debut more than ten years ago – a feat many modern acts struggle to accomplish. After a band career exceeding a decade in length, it’s certainly remarkable that Eagles Of Death Metal are still capable of bringing a refreshing, carefree and ultimately fun sound to the table.