It’s hard to find fault with Josh “Babyduck” Homme and Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes’ cock rock project Eagles of Death Metal. The pair wear their lack of originality as proudly as their well-cultivated moustaches, entirely aware of their limits as a duo with a fixation on songs about dancing and masturbation. Nevertheless, Heart On manages to be a strident step forward for a band previously as happy wallowing in kitsch as a pig in dioxins. This time around the duo kick out the comedy and focus all their kinetic energy on your hips (and, lyrically, what’s in between them).
Where similar cowbell-happy, garage-rock outfits wear their leather jackets and preen their hair in the most self-serious of manners, Homme and Hughes realize their lineage from Mick Jagger is a musical, and not an attitudunal one. There’s some open-hearted emotionalism on Heart On, with slower numbers like Now I’m A Fool and sweeter-spun songs like the title track making the album’s most memorable moments. Taken in short spurts each song from the album is a keeper, though collected together the band’s limits are more than a little tiring- Heart On’s one for the iPod Shuffle kids.
Really, album closer I’m Your Torpedo represents Heart On’s version of Eagles of Death Metal best- a humourous theme seriously executed. It’s a dark Sonics-like groove, free of the schtick that marred their earlier efforts. The riffs are as memorable, the ideas the same, but that feeling Eagles are a guilty pleasure is pleasantly absent. Tenacious D fans will be cursing Jack Black above that Jesse and Josh have started to take themselves seriously; everybody else will find Heart On’s tracks sidling into their consciousness- cocks and all.
See also: The Sonics- Here Are The Sonics (Norton), The Rolling Stones- Let It Bleed [ABKCO], Queens of the Stone Age- R [Interscope]