Album Review: Electric Six

Album Review: Electric Six
Album: Zodiac
Label: Metropolis

Electric Six are the ultimate party band. With a vocalist called Dick Valentine, and the rest of the band sharing names such as Rock and Roll Indian, Disco and Percussion World, they’ve carved an effective niche in throwing together the usually disastrous combination of comedy and rock ­– Spinal Tap excluded, naturally.

This being the band’s third release in as many years, you’d anticipate some kind of burn-out, but when Zodiac is at its best it stands toe-to-toe with the hits that have given Electric Six their raucous reputation. For the most part, it’s a continuation of their staple recipe of good fun and hard rock. Tracks such as ‘Clusterfuck’ and ‘After Hours’ are quick and to the point, brief moments of sugar-fuelled euphoria that follow in the footsteps of dancefloor smash ‘Danger: High Voltage’.

Zodiac does see the band calming the maelstrom somewhat, especially in the latter half of the album, with mixed results. After the dizzying highs of the likes of ‘American Cheese’ it’s hard to get so enthused over the staid 90s parody nature of ‘Love Song for Myself’. Subverting the nature of your traditional love ballad for once that might suggest that self-loving is the only way forward is amusing on the first few listens, but without the same addictive driving force the band normally exhibit, it falls flat on repeated plays.

The biggest criticism is that Zodiac can’t maintain its energy over the course of nearly an hour, with a clear divide apparent after ‘Jam It In the Hole’. Zodiac would have clearly benefitted from being made more concise, and if this was an EP release it would be among the most enjoyable of the year.

As it is, that extra twenty minutes causes the album to drag. What is fun and frivolous in the first 15 minutes becomes a lot less enjoyable after 40. Perhaps the biggest bugbear is that Zodiac feels very top-heavy. Within a few listens ‘After Hours’ will be embedded in your consciousness; album closer ‘Talking Turkey’ barely registers.

Zodiac isn’t groundbreaking, and it lacks some of the standout giggles of the band’s previous hits. It becomes more of a victim of the band’s previous successes in the mainstream, and they remain a band for whom the single is the optimum delivery method for their music.

Originally published at The Line of Best Fit.

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