Eagles of Death Metal seem to always be so characteristically tricky to pin down into one defining sound. Perhaps it’s the revolving door policy the band seem to hold their members and frequent contributors to, but the California-based outfit have never been the kind to hold a narrow spectrum of sounds. ‘Zipper Down’, it would transpire, is a continuation of this trend, and it may well be EODM’s finest hour to date.
‘Complexity’ is exactly the kind of earworm that was needed to kick the record off, immediately boasting the replay value that previous singles such as ‘Cherry Cola’ and ‘Wannabe in LA’ have somewhat lacked. ‘Silverlake’ is just as fun to listen to, while ‘Got a Woman’ feels like it will be an instant hit at the band’s live shows, boasting all the energy and lyrical strength of any good Josh Homme track.
It’s always been a bit difficult to stay on the hook for Eagles of Death Metal’s less fast-paced numbers. ‘I Love You All the Time’ unfortunately continues this trend – though ‘Skin-Tight Boogie’ later on the record does shake off the albatross pretty well. It’s not until the a capella intro to ‘Got the Power’ that ‘Zipper Down’ really regains its foothold. The vocals of Tuesday Cross are a great addition to the track, and another testament to Eagles of Death Metal’s revolving door policy allowing guest musicians to shine.
Just when you think you have the record pinned down as ‘The Deuce’ takes us into its tail end, Eagles of Death Metal throw a real curveball in the form of covering Duran Duran’s ‘Save a Prayer’. As it turns out, the track lends itself really well to the desert rock sound; Homme, Hughes & Co. doing a marvelous job of making it their own. Outside the Protomen’s ‘Cover Up’ EP, it’s easily the best cover we’ve had the pleasure of hearing this year.
It’s ‘The Reverend’ which wraps the album up, and it’s a great note for ‘Zipper Down’ to end on. Amid a characteristic haze of guitars and vocal harmonies, we bid farewell to another Eagles of Death Metal record; arguably their most accessible yet to an uninitiated ear. If ever there was a time to embrace the outfit then it seems like that time is now, and with their 20th anniversary as a band approaching, there’s no question that they’re getting better with the times.
‘Zipper Down’ by Eagles of Death Metal is out now on Downtown Recordings.
Words by Antony Lusmore (@VilinskiKonjic)