Electric Six are one of those bands that many of you will remember specifically for their 2003 Top 5 Singles “Danger! High Voltage” and “Gay Bar”. Since then they have gone through various line-up changes and this album, Bitch Don’t Let Me Die, is actually their 11th album to date. I’ll be honest they were never a band that I ever got into at the time but I know quite a few people who have followed their career and never missed a tour so I was pretty eager to see where they were at now and to see why they do attract such a loyal fan base.
As a sound, Electric Six have always been pretty hard to define and the tags vary widely from disco, synth pop to new wave and metal and on the first listening of this album it’s pretty clear to see why they are such a genre encompassing band. It is more Eclectic Six than Electric Six with elements of folk, prog rock, synth pop and rock all bursting to be heard.
The album opens with ‘Drone Strikes’ and it is immediately the sound that you remember. Long time member Dick Valentine’s vocals have always been very very distinct (Danger! Danger!), at times a falsetto as he pomps and grinds ,shouts and screams to get his point across. It is the chorus that gives them away: ‘How Do You Like my Drone Strikes’? What is interesting on this 11th album is that it opens with a political song, and Valentine has something to say here which is worth listening to. For a lyricist who admits that over 90% of his lyrics aren’t about anything, this is interesting surprise for me.
With “Two Dollar Two” we are on more familiar ground however, but it’s an immediate show stopper. You just know this is going to be a great live song. Like any songs that grabs your attention there is more going on than at first the catchy chorus and lyrics suggest, with some great progressive chord changes going on in the background.
“Kids are Evil” introduces the synth pop sound to the album and for the lyrical content it fits very well. There is once again a political undertow but Valentine very firmly has his tongue in cheek and the simpleness of the lyric and music work well together. This is a side of Electric Six that is interesting, the way they can slip between power chords and an almost Casio sounding synth pop (check out “A Variation of Elaine”).
I often applaud those albums that have a cohesiveness and theme that runs throughout but Electric Six can actually achieve this whilst swapping from genre to genre and it is probably that inventiveness for me that makes the album. If all the songs were just what you consider to be classic Electric Six it would soon become tiring. ‘Slow Motion Man;’ is a great example of this. It comes half way through the album and is a welcome pace change. It is basically a slab of classic prog rock in Marillion style. Unexpected but it works. The highlight of the album for me is ‘Big Red Arthur”. Right from the industrial slow grind of the opening to the very sincere vocals. It even includes a George Harrison solo.
So what else are we treated to? We have some folk tinged rock on ‘Dime, Dime’ Penny’ Dime’, some great use of 80’s synths and at one point even a bit of Oasis styled drumming. All in all, a very intriguing listen and one that on repeat playsI found I got more and more out of. One thing is for certain I will be looking back on Electric Six’s large output and giving them a revaluation.
The band are also on tour throughout November and December:
- 24.11.15 SHEFFIELD O2 Academy 2
- 25.11.15 MANCHESTER Sound Control
- 26.11.15 GLASGOW Oran Mor
- 27.11.15 BELFAST Limelight 2
- 28.11.15 DUBLIN Academy
- 30.11.15 YORK Fibbers
- 01.12.15 NEWCASTLE O2 Academy 2
- 02.12.15 BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy
- 03.12.15 LIVERPOOL O2 Academy
- 04.12.15 LONDON O2 Islington Academy
- 05.12.15 BRIGHTON Concorde 2
Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die is out on November 13th