The Electric Mess

Electric Mess

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The Electric Mess are a garage band from New York City who sound like they were mysteriously left off the Nuggets box set through a clerical error, even though they recorded their debut album in 2009, not 1966. As period authentic as the Electric Mess sound, anyone who has spent much time listening to garage revival bands knows that getting the old-school sound isn't half as important as having good songs and the ability to rock out, and thankfully the Electric Mess have hit the trifecta -- they have the vintage approach and feel, they can write great songs, and the band isn't afraid to hit ‘em hard and make the music move. Lead guitarist Dan Crowe has a raw, scrappy sound that fills out the melodies and makes room for feedback and distortion that give his playing a strong personality, and keyboard man/utility player Oweinama Biu conjures up a moody and elemental sounds from his Farfisa and adds some tasty musical seasoning on sitar and second guitar. Bassist Derek Davidson and drummer Craig Rogers are a powerful, steady-rollin' rhythm section, and lead singer Chip Fontaine is a real discovery. Fontaine is actually Esther Crow making like a guy, but while her voice is clearly in a female register, she belts with a swagger and sneer that would do Sky Saxon or Sean Bonniwell proud and knows just what to do with these songs. And fine songs they are -- "You've Become a Witch" is a new spin on a classic garage rock theme, "Mondo Bongo" is revved-up exotica deluxe, "She Has a Funny Walk" is a memorable tribute to a memorable gal, and "Remember to Forget Today" shows this band can downshift into something poppier and still connect. Anyone who wonders if there's anything left to be said on the garage revival scene ought to give the Electric Mess' debut a listen -- this record proves there's plenty of fresh life to be plugged into the old frameworks if you've the right kind of talent and energy, and that's just what the Electric Mess bring to the table.

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