Eagles of Death Metal, 'Death by Sexy' (Downtown)

6
Death by Sexy
Critical Mass
Label: Downtown

by Joe Gross

The myth, the legend, the secret origin, if you will, of Eagles of Death Metal is as dorky and moving as the band's hesher-trash music is tossed off and good-natured. Hell, who are we kidding? The myth's way better than the music. Eagles main 'stache Jesse "the Devil" Hughes has known Eagles drummer Josh Homme since both were tiny hard-rocking kids in Palm Desert, California. Homme went on to perfect megaton butte metal with Kyuss and to rule the Queens of the Stone Age empire with a heavy pimp hand. Hughes became just a slob like one of us. But Homme rescued his pal during Hughes' gnarly divorce, whisking him away from daily drudgery into a lost chapter of David Lee Roth's memoirs. Hype followed -- there's a Spike TV movie of the week in here somewhere.

Eagles of Death Metal feel like a rock'n'roll fantasy camp -- an everydude plays the frontman with the groupies and the speed, while the real-life rock star plays the drums with let's-call-it-spirited amateurism. The notion of rock as escapism has rarely translated so literally: Hughes sings "I love you, baby, you're just 19" like he didn't know how hot the barely legal ladies were when he himself was that age.

As a result, the band's second disc, Death by Sexy, from the name on down, feels like rock that Beavis would play if Homme were his pal: minimalist grooves looped into the ovoid shapes that QOTSA turned into hits. "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)," "Cherry Cola," "I Like to Move in the Night": These are songs that party ev-e-ry day. The acoustic reel of "Solid Gold" boogies around the campfire, while "The Ballad of Queen Bee and Baby Duck" pays tribute to the founder of this feast and his bride. On Death, Hughes demands you pour some sugar on him in the name of love. It's like that Joseph Campbell guy said: Follow your motherfrugging bliss.

See also: The Darkness, Permission to Land (Atlantic, 2003)

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