Album Reviews: Death by Sexy by Eagles of Death MetalEagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes surely has one of the most libidinous set of pipes in rock and roll -- all tension and falsetto, ball-grabbing "uhh"s and wobbly-kneed "oooh-oooh-oooh"s. It's not surprising, then, that he is at his best when he's in sex overdrive, as he is for a solid stretch of Death By Sexy (a perfect title which, like the album cover, shows that this is a group that minds the details).
Taking cues from predators like The Stooges and The Stones, Hughes gets Death By Sexy off to an excellent start; it's the sort of music that makes listeners think about going out on the town and calling in sick in the morning -- hopefully with a much better reason than a hangover for staying in bed. "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)" is a two-minute blast of high-pitched come-ons and celebrity cameos from Jack Black and Dave Grohl, who lovingly warn you that Hughes is, in fact, bad news. Even in its short running time, it fits in a finger-melting guitar solo (that, in the corresponding video, literally blows off clothes).
"I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen)" has another monster partytime riff, with Hughes letting out an Axl screech when he reveals the girl's age (nineteeeeen). Like most of the album, it's campy and funny without being jokey. Hughes and Death By Sexy hit a peak with the sassy, cock-rockin' "Cherry Cola," which takes the most played-out of ingredients -- fuzzy guitars and primitive drums -- and makes them sound sexy and fresh. Even those who aren't interested in picking up the entire album should consider downloading one or two of these early tracks. Hughes has said that he began the band as an attempt to feel sexy again after some rough years that included a messy divorce; Death By Sexy, at its best, is capable of spreading that confidence to its listeners, too. Air guitarists and shower singers rejoice.
Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme drums and produces on the album, and the songs sometimes capture the QOTSA aesthetic, albeit with a much lighter touch. Homme is a charismatic caveman on his kit, pounding away with a precision that quite possibly qualifies as "comic timing."
The problem with Death By Sexy is its stamina; it peters out down the stretch. Hughes goes Elvis-by-way-of-Jon-Spencer on "Chase the Devil," and it's silly, but not something most people will want to listen to multiple times. Three or four other songs fall into the same boat, although the bluesy, handclapping "Bag O' Miracles" is an effective closer, despite also veering away from the lovable, sexaholic vibe that lets these Eagles soar. -Adam McKibbin, The Red Alert
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