Eagles of Death Metal - Zipper Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Eagles of Death Metal

Zipper Down (2015)

T-Boy Records / Universal Musi

What do we know about Jesse Hughes?

On the surface, he’s the cock-swinging, heavy drinking leader from Eagles of Death Metal. He loves his women and his whiskey. He’s a childhood friend of Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme. He’s also a right wing, gun-toting reverend engaged to a former porn star who sometimes refers to himself as “The Devil.” So there’s that. What effect does Hughes’ background have on Zipper Down, the first album from EoDM in seven years? Almost none.

Perhaps the best depiction of Hughes is the cover of Duran Duran’s 1982 single “Save a Prayer.” “Don’t save a prayer for me now, save it ‘til the morning after” effectively demonstrates the contradiction between the rock and roll lifestyle Eagles of Death Metal depict and the wholesome values of Reverend Hughes’ devout Christianity. But something is missing. There’s plenty of rock, but many of the songs come across hollow, or as if Hughes has to keep up this persona he’s created though his life has changed. Only "The Reverend" blends the two worlds...sort of. “Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M.),” on the other hand, may have appeared a funny concept but hardly feels fresh. These aren’t highbrow ideas nor do they pretend to be, but gimmicks are tricky to pull off over a whole album, let alone a decade plus career. The same old tricks don’t carry a punch anymore.

Musically, it’s the same Eagles of Death Metal you’ve either grown to love or hate. The lyrics aren’t Thoreau nor should they be. The hooks are simple and repetitive and fit well on a jukebox at the local dive bar. They are greasy, dirty numbers that benefit from being on your feet. Homme’s drumming establishes that and Hughes hardly goes one song without mentioning dancing, moving and/or boogying. When Eagles of Death Metal double down on the stupidity and fun, things feel the most natural, if still the least interesting.

Hughes never apologizes for the subject matter on his albums nor the lifestyle he’s lived. He’s a sinner but having a hell of a lot more fun than the rest of us. Unfortunately, his life has more going on than the resulting songs. Hughes is also releasing a documentary, The Redemption of the Devil, that would make for a more interesting companion piece. But Zipper Down on its own is a single short burst of energy stretched too thin.