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Album Review

If Electric Six never contributed anything to pop music besides "Danger! High Voltage" — one of the most immediate, crazed singles in years — the band would still have the distinction of being one of the most unique-sounding one-hit wonders in recent memory. Fire doesn't necessarily offer proof that this won't be Electric Six's ultimate fate, but it does suggest that they have more tricks up their sleeve than might be expected. It's true that "Danger! High Voltage" is easily the best song on Fire, an addictive mix of stylishness and silliness that sounds like some kind of bizarre love triangle between the Rapture, Tenacious D, and Andrew W.K., but several songs work nearly as well. "Dance Commander"'s big arena rock choruses, zooming keyboards, and yelped falsettos recall their big hit without merely copying it; "Improper Dancing" is surprisingly funky, with its brittle guitars and slick disco feel providing the perfect setting for the band's macho flippancy. "Gay Bar" is more on the garage/punk side of their sound, confusing war and violence with sex and dancing, with loads of adolescent sexual innuendo (but is there any other kind?), as is "Getting into the Jam," which is almost certainly not about discovering a classic mod-punk band. The power ballad "I'm the Bomb" might be the second-best song on Fire, awash in gurgling synths and shiny guitars as singer Dick Valentine shamelessly delivers lines like "Who elected you judge and jury in the body of a beautiful girl?" The rest of the album has an appealingly throwaway quality, spanning the new wave sendups "Synthesizer" and "Electric Demons in Love" as well as the campy arena rock of "Fashion and Vengeance" and "She's White." Though they're not on par with the band's best moments, they do hold up much better than might be anticipated, and prove that Electric Six's m.o. of inflating rock clichés to grotesque proportions, adding a dash of tongue-in-cheek pomposity, and then laughing at the results can generate more than just a great single. Granted, that single is still the reason to own Fire, but fans of that song probably won't feel burned by the rest of the album.

Customer Reviews

A camp, daft joy

Yes yes they are a novelty band, but they can actually play and it's a ridiculous blast from start to finish. "She's White" is fantastic preposterous overblown campy rock. Any song that starts with the line "I was born a prisoner in your dungeon of fish" gets my vote everytime.

An Fantastically Funny Funk Trip

Before going into this album, look past the big hits, "Danger! High Voltage!" and "Gay Bar" because this is an album filled with gems. I find my self dancing to this album involuntarily, with its catchy riffs, sexually-connotated lyrics, all topped with a good helping of humour, you can't go wrong with this album, a must-have.

Great

Bought this album when it first came out, and was blown away - its hilarious, and I'd never head anything like it. I can still listen to it and recite every word, which is impressive for me after nearly 3 years. Improper dancing has to be my favourite song, with its quiet "aah" and its quirky "Stop... continue". What this world lacks is good humour and smiling. This will put it back. And for that reason only, you should buy it!

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formerly known as the Wildbunch, the Detroit sextet Electric Six mix garage, disco, punk, new wave, and metal into cleverly dumb, in-your-face songs like "Danger! High Voltage," which reached number two on the British charts early in 2003. Singer Dick Valentine, guitarists Rock and Roll Indian and Surge Joebot, bassist Disco, and drummer M. formed the Wildbunch in 1996 (keyboardist Tait Nucleus? joined the band later), releasing their debut single, "I Lost Control (Of My Rock & Roll)," and the...
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