The worst thing about Death by Sexy, the sophomore album from Eagles of Death Metal, is that you know that somewhere, right now, it’s rocking a strip-club sound system. Songs such as “I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News), and “I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen),” with its foot-stomping, more-cowbell drums, three-chord guitar crunch, and frontman Jesse Hughes singing, “I love you baby you’re just nineteen/ I got the flesh and I will make you scream,” are ready-made raunch-rock anthems. Most of Death by Sexy plays like the hard-rock equivalent to Ying Yang Twins or a stripped-down version of anything in Motley Crue’s catalog.
Fortunately, this is also the best thing about the album. To quote myself, the band’s repertoire consists predominantly of “foot-stomping, more-cowbell drums,” and “three-chord guitar crunch.” This, in case you haven’t heard of AC/DC, is awesome. And like AC/DC, or like the Rolling Stones, who these guys use as a model of sexual swagger for their less aggressive songs (“Solid Gold”), there is no pretension, no hidden agenda. “Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!”), “I Like to Move in the Night” “Keep Your Head Up” — these aren’t exactly addressing important social issues. Unless that issue is sex.
It isn’t all lap dances and free beer, though. When they aren’t pounding out ’70s style boogie-rock, when Hughes hides his falsetto and the band takes a break from the oohs and aahs, there isn’t a whole lot going on. At times the production, courtesy of Eagles drummer (and Queens of the Stone Age frontman) Josh Homme, is, well, a little too Queens of the Stone Age. Not a terrible fault, but certainly noticeable — and potentially stifling for someone looking for a totally different band that Homme just happens to be a part of.
“The Ballad of Queen Bee & Baby Duck,” about the relationship between Homme and the Distiller’s Brody Dalle, lacks the infectious drive of the rest of the album; “Eagles Goth,” is a messy foray into a darker sound — something Homme’s Queens do much better. When the Eagles try venturing out of the club, they — and we — suffer. But when they cash their hundred-dollar bills in for singles and order another round of Bud Lights, they’re untouchable.