In a recent Eagles of Death Metal promotional video, singer Jesse “The Devil” Hughes described the current state of his hometown: “Hollywood feels like this opening sequence to Saturday Night Fever. Everyone seems like they're ready for action.” If only that sort of abundant energy translated to the band's new release.
A decade after being merely a Josh Homme side project, Eagles of Death Metal has become one of rock 'n' roll's loudest, cockiest, and cheekiest bands. Between its first two albums, Peace, Love and Death Metal and Death by Sexy, it created its own universe, one that focused almost exclusively on hard rocking, innumerable double entendres, and the Devil. With Heart On, however, the luster is gone, the rocking isn't as hard, and the sexual innuendo isn't nearly as fierce (title aside). The band takes a thematic higher ground, often focusing on “emotions” and “relationships.” Hughes even asks, late into the album, “How can a man with so many friends feel so alone?”
Things aren't entirely blasé, though. The album's lead single, “Wanna Be in L.A.,” sounds like a reckless, beer-soaked surfer, barely hanging onto a repetitive flow before wisely fading out. “Secret Plans” prominently expels much of the record's tired sound, adding the tight-fisted chorus “I want what I want, what I want, what I want, what I want.” And if repetition and the occasional suggestive lyric could save the album, Eagles of Death Metal would be solid gold. Instead, Heart On sounds far less like a vivacious representation of the city, and a lot more like the cliché Hollywood has become.