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Album Review

Switzerland, the second album Electric Six released in 2006 (as well as their second for Metropolis), is also another album brought to you by the words "fire," "night," "party," and "city." But, while the band has their lyrical motifs down pat, it's not all business — or rather, pleasure — as usual. If their last two albums were all-night parties in cities on fire, then Switzerland has more of an inkling that there's a hung-over morning after just around the corner, most literally on "Pulling the Plug on the Party." This slightly ominous undercurrent makes itself known throughout the album, with songs are populated by sexy girls who might be diseased (and most likely are) and guys who might be monsters (ditto). Switzerland opens with "The Band in Hell," an angsty bit of heartache; granted, it's an angsty bit of heartache that also mentions that the singer's backing band includes the Devil on guitar and Hitler on drums, but it's still a surprisingly downbeat way to kick off the album. Likewise, the John Waters allusion in "Pink Flamingos"' title undercuts some of the song's brooding, twangy country-rock, yet the song represents a darker Electric Six than we've heard before. On the other hand, the band finds plenty of time to add fun back into Switzerland's tainted, slightly off vibe. This makes for some of Electric Six's best songs yet, whether it's the insistent ambivalence of the he-she rocker "Mr. Woman," the slinky, sleazy "Infected Girls," or "There's Something Very Wrong with Us So Let's Go Out Tonight," which might as well be the album's manifesto. There are also songs with titles that sound like double entendres or euphemisms even when they might not be, like "Chocolate Pope," the gleefully dumb throwaway that closes the album, and moments of pure, glorious cheese, such as "Slices of You" and "Rubber Rocket" (both of which are pretty clearly double entendres). That's not even mentioning "I Wish This Song Was Louder," the nod to "Werewolves of London" that is "I Buy the Drugs," or the gleaming, streamlined pop of "Night Vision," quintessentially Electric Six tracks one and all. Even if Switzerland is some of the band's most mature — or least immature — work yet, it's all relative; this restraint, what there is of it, makes them sound more focused, but they're still flamboyant and silly enough to keep fans happy.


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 eight-track...
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Switzerland, Electric Six
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