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.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares