The brainchild of Jesse Hughes and his redheaded counterpart, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, Zipper Down is the the follow-up to 2008’s Heart On. Hughes and Homme co-wrote each and every song on the record (apart from one cover) and performed all vocals and instrumentation themselves, with Homme also back in the producer’s chair.
The album artwork features the shapely body of a woman, from shoulders to thighs, wearing black leather jeans whilst throwing the rock horns over her crotch and a black leather jacket – zipper down, of course – exposing her breasts, with Hughes and Homme’s faces acting as pasties over her areolae. It’s silly, saucy and might be considered sexist by some, but as Eagles of Death Metal always openly profess their endless love for women, let’s just consider this appreciation for the female form.
Zipper Down opens with lead single “Complexity”, which is accompanied by a black-and-white music video of the duo goofing around in full bromance swing. High-pitched, almost squeaky guitar effects over an expeditious, punky drum beat, sets the tone for another authentic rock ‘n’ roll album from the band.
The third track on the record, “Got A Woman”, is a speedy slice of ’50s retro pop-rock, peppered with an assortment of harmonies. Track eight, “Got A Woman (Slight Return)”, is just that: a 41 second revisit of the song. Talk about a curveball.
“I Love You All the Time” hears Boots Electric (Homme’s nickname for Hughes) singing in French, whilst ‘Oh Girl’ captures his voice cracking with emotion over a dramatic guitar riff. The feel-good, high-energy songs to “shake what your mamma gave you” to are “Silverlake”, “Got the Power”, and “The Deuce” – you can practically visualise Hughes shooping across the stage in his signature electric boogie-style. “Skin Tight Boogie”, on the other hand, is the album’s sexy, sultry number, programmed to aurally seduce.
Surprisingly, a cover of Duran Duran’s “Save A Prayer” makes a cameo as the penultimate track of “Zipper Down”. Eagles of Death Metal truly make the song their own by replacing the core synthesizer melody with backing vocals, giving it an almost desert-rock quality. It’s an unpredictable but inspired choice.
The record closes in synergy to how it opened: fast and fun. “The Reverend” is garage rock as its finest, and as ferocious as a coyote going in for the kill.
Zipper Down is an attitude and a philosophy, according to Hughes, “One should not zipper up, they should zipper down and let it all hang out.”