Bands used to be prolific machines of pop music glory. The Beatles released 13 albums in 7 years, Motown acts cranked out hit after hit and Bob Dylan recorded album after album of deep, folk rock. Bands aren't as prolific as this anymore and this makes the people who love these bands very ornery. Waiting two years for your favorite rock bands next record is tough. Luckily, disco punk all stars Electric Six churn out album after album. Since Fire in 2003 and with this years release, Flashy just a week away, we've been treated to five albums in six years. The band went through some tumult early on with line-up changes and since their third record, Switzerland, the line-up is firmed up and much more coherent. Well, coherent to the extent Dick Valentine and CO. can be. The album follows suit in the E6 catalog, but what makes it a stand out effort among the past three discs, it is more guitar driven and this makes it a much more fantastical rock record.
Electric Six specialize in tongue in cheek lyrics swamped by catchy as fuck guitar hooks and fantasy zone synth embellishing. This record also picks up some horns here and there adding an even more bombastic hilarity and depth of field to the very rock-pop structures that E6 does so well. It's good to hear a little more cohesion in the music as the last album was all over the place in a negative way. Although The Master was a fun album with some great highlights, like "Randy's Hot Tonight" and "Dance Pattern", it was very erratic and disjointed. The website at the time of release mentioned that the mission was excess and that they did. But that excess led to filler like songs "Broken Machine" and "Lenny Kravitz." This time around, at a lean 13 tracks, the new record is just as blisteringly non-stop rocking as Fire was. And to it's credit, it's easily the best since Senor Smoke. As much as Electric Six comes off as a joke band, there is no denying that they can write catchy rock songs meant for partying to.
The first track, interestingly titled "Gay Bar Part II" works as a littany of moments throughout the career of E6 with nods to songs from the bands first three records in the lyrics. The music of the song is fantastic with mariachi horns, a driving riff and fantastic percussion work. The first signle, "Formula 409" equates keeping your kitchen clean with ones libido. Again, the music excells as excellent rocking abounds with the catchy riff. The alliterative story song "We Were Witchy Witchy White Women" is one of E6's most interesting tracks. The structure follows the same riff throughout without your usual verse/chorus breaks and ends in a kick ass guitar solo with impressive escalating drum beats. Other gems include "Face Cuts" which is the most ballady E6 track on the album. "Flashy Man" boasts some of the most ridiculously great Dickie V. lyrics on the album, including "he's the X-Box to your Atari." It's best summed up as a boogie woogie rock track that would be best used by a professional wrestler as their theme music. "Graphic Designer" is a fantastic love anthem of a woman who knows how to use Photoshop. The furious pace of this track will blow the roof off of any party. Finally, in usual E6 fashion, the final track packs a poignant and wistful punch. "Making Progress" is a beautiful track in line with "Synthesizer" or "Future is in the Future." The vocoder hides the lyrics to an extent, but they shine through behind the dygitized voice delivering them.
Overall, Electric Six knows what they are: a party rock band. If you liten to E6 and can't have fun, you don't get it. To say that they are anything more than great music to dance to or drive down the highway to is just absurd. They are the musical equivalent to an ice cold soda. No nuritional value, but damned if it isn't refreshing and tasty! Flashy isn't as flashy as other albums being more guitar driven but, hey, let this band do what they do well. And see them live. It's the most fun you will have at a dingy bar near you.