Electric Six - Zodiac
Detroit six-piece 'superstars', Electric Six burst onto the scene with their hits 'Danger! High Voltage' and (who can forget) 'Gay Bar' back in 2003. Blending rock with disco, garage, new wave, punk and some eighties cheese, they have put together their seventh album, 'Zodiac' which is another large dose of tongue in cheek, lusty irony.
'After Hours' opens the album in typical Electric Six style; that sound can only be them. It drives along with strained, arrogant sounding vocals and some pounding drums. The next track's name could be taken as definition of their music, 'American Cheese'. This is a change of style and has undertones of heavy ska, though still with their unmistakable driving sound. The album has many contrasts, the band drawing from numerous styles. The track that highlights the highest number of different styles is 'Doom and Gloom and Doom and Gloom'. Here, the song begins harmlessly enough but there's a great refernce to Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' sax riff along with a nod to the sax-accompanied moaning on Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon'; it all works so well and is all good.
The album has some surprises, sometimes sounding like a mixture of glam rockers New York Dolls and the 'White Punks On Dope' era of The Tubes, sometimes with Zappa undertones, and quite a lot sounding like eighties pop fused with 70s glam rock. I particularly enjoyed the affected vocal chorus backing which reminded me so much of Velvet Underground's 'Walk On The Wildside'.
The sneering lyrics and attitude are often delivered over an upbeat and loud party of sound. They are multi-dimensional and can deliver some great tunes whilst not being pinned down. This diversity can be seen with their cover of 'The Rubberband Man' which is done remarkably well. In contrast, though delivered with the same competence, is the pop song 'Love Song for Myself' and the quieter story-telling of 'Table and Chairs'.
There are plenty of good songs here; some to get you dancing (if that's what you do), some to make you laugh and all to enjoy. There's enough here to more than satisfy E6s followers and more than enough to grab some new recruits. Very enjoyable!