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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Death never sounded so fun

Published: April 7, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.


its a word that elicits memories of joyous occasions, be they some uproarious party whose hangover passed months ago or even a nice day on the town. While one can hopefully associate such an ideal to his life, the word is unfortunately left out of much of the music thats being produced and distributed today. Sure, those random pop songs of the week may have provided for a few sweet minutes of amusement at some random party;

yet, outside of that context, these songs are nothing more than arbitrary conglomerate products as empty and soulless as any attempt made at making these songs have some significant musical grounding. In the almost absolute absence of music that contains an audacious sense of humor, fun, and irony abound, rock n roll revivalists (in every sense of the phrase) Eagles of Death Metal emerge from the pit of doom and gloom to provide a hip shaking, heart pounding, and fun time.

In just over half an hour, Eagles of Death Metal deliver downright enjoyable, danceable, and often times ludicrous material on their sophomore effort, Death by Sexy. Packing every ideal of rock clich into thirteen venerable tracks, Eagles of Death Metal deliver their sermon filled with sex, drugs, and rock n roll with such cockiness (no pun intended) it completely blows away their 2004 release Peace, Love, and Death Metal. With Death by Sexy, Eagles of Death Metal can burst out of the shadow of being a rock stars side project and allow the band to become the musical geniuses Bon Scott could conceivably rock out to in the afterlife;

moreover, the album verifies drummer and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme as a musical demigod with an uncanny ear for musical ingenuity. While the band emerges from Hommes luminous shadow, EODM frontman Jesse Hughes makes the case for his own musical inventiveness, guiding each song with sleazy guitar riffs and vocals that channel rock heroes from Elvis to Prince.

Where Peace, Love, and Death Metal soaked in minimal mastery, surviving simply upon creative use of handclaps, cowbell, and Hughes extraordinarily unique vocals, Death by Sexy presents a whirlwind of musical verbosity. The album erupts into the chaotic and syncopated piano-lead single, I Want You So Hard (Boys Bad News), a song that engorges itself upon high-pitched vocals and fast-paced instrumentals in less than two minutes. I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen) and Cherry Cola bathe in the nourishment of luscious instrumental layering not unlike the Queens of the Stone Age library;

both songs are filled with haunting back-up vocals, stunning guitar solos, and a grandeur of instrumentals that manage to reconstruct the same disturbing images of the California desert as any Queens song can. I Like to Move in the Night plays out like an EODM take on any Electric Six song;

a hip-shaking number that marries the ideals of late night dancing and sex and speaks of each in a symbiotic tone in which both ideals provide a metaphor for the other.

It isnt until you hit Solid Gold that Eagles of Death Metal truly display their ability to remain a cut above practically any other act that would think to attempt to create the same kind of music. From the opening seconds which features a maraca dancing around the sweet samba strumming of an acoustic guitar, the song becomes instantly infectious, launching it into the bands signature bombastic, head-bopping musical elegance. Hughes spastically boasts about the bands ability to make you sweat, humorously offering a rock alternative to modern gangsta rap while satirizing it, all the while Homme giddily pounds away at his handy cowbell, propelling the longest, and best, song on the album.

Following Solid Gold, the remainder of the album flows through a large number of peaks and a couple of misfires;

Dont Speak (I Came to Make a BANG!) and Chase the Devil continue to provide the album with a number of raw, pulsing rock masterpieces. Overall, Death by Sexy truly presents what is advertised;

a startling number of tracks that individually manage to create provocative imagery of lewd, yet tantalizing, and bawdy rock with a strong hint of humor. Alone, the songs are great;

combined, they culminate to create an orgiastic piece of tantalizing musical pulp that knocks you off your seat and holds you by the neck, demanding you to surrender to the verbose and truly sexy sounds. Whether or not the band achieved the sound or irony they hoped to in mocking classic rock group the Eagles by adding the oft-negative term of Death Metal to the name in a weird sense of originality, their sound is anything but that of death metal. Instead, Hughes and company have brought back an innocuous sense of humor that the music scene is in dire need of hearing, combined with a sound that samples the best rock to come out since the genres birth. While the band name may certainly contain a slight hint of falsity, the album title is anything but;

if you are weary of brilliant, refreshing, sexy, and downright fun music, stay as far away from the album as possible. For the rest, Death by Sexy is the perfect prescription of absolute fun, and yes, more cowbell.