Electric Six's fifth album kicks off with the brassy, Latin-tinged "Gay Bar Part Two," which has absolutely nothing to do with the original "Gay Bar" but everything to do with Dick Valentine and company's finely honed sense of the ridiculous. Harking back to one of their Fire hits with this songtitle was intended as a shameless marketing ploy, but Flashy feels like a shout-out to the band's first album in other ways: the band dials down the disco-rock of albums like Switzerland and I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master in favor of the gloriously bombastic hard rock-meets-new wave of Fire's album tracks. "Lovers," with its squealing guitar solos and fist-pumping "yeah!" backing vocals, could easily fit into a block of '80s rock programming, and the power ballad "Heavy Woman" boasts a fittingly big bassline and plenty of cowbell. Flashy also recalls Fire in that it's a little uneven. The best songs deliver all of the theatrical savoir faire Electric Six is known for: "Dirty Ball" is just as nasty and funky as its title, bouncing along on an irresistible drum breakdown; on "Formula 409," Valentine sings about clean kitchens and Middle Eastern affairs while guitars chug and saxophones wail; and "Graphic Designer" deserves a mention just for rhyming the famous art and design institute Pratt with "where it's at." Other songs just aren't as immediately gripping -- even though "We Were Witchy Witchy White Women" is about lesbian witches, it isn't especially catchy. Likewise, "Your Heat Is Rising" fails to connect despite its sizzling synths, massive guitars, and over-the-top falsetto vocals. More often than not, though, Flashy is lots of cleverly dumb fun, with songs like "Flashy Man" -- which boasts the choice put-down "he's the Xbox to your Atari" -- and the Jan Hammer-esque synth rock of "Transatlantic Flight" keeping it deliciously unclear if Electric Six are the highest of the lowbrow or the lowest of the highbrow.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares