The roots of Electric lay in another album entirely, Peace, which was recorded with Love producer Steve Brown in a series of sessions that the band found increasingly pressure-filled and fraught with tension. A chance meeting with Def Jam supremo Rick Rubin at an American awards ceremony turned out to be the charm, resulting in the saucy chest-baring stomp of Electric. Rubin chucked all the old recordings for a series of new sessions, stripping everything down and essentially transforming Billy Duffy into the logical successor to AC/DC's Angus Young. Thankfully Ian Astbury decided not to become Brian Johnson, and while his macho yells can't help being cartoonish, he's clearly having fun throughout. Though both band and album caught a lot of flak for their perceived wallowing in dinosaur sounds and styles, the end result is still a fist-punching yelp of energy that demands to be heard at maximum volume in arenas, with a brusque punch in Les Warner's drums to match Duffy's power-chord action. "Love Removal Machine" is still the album's calling card, another in the series of instantly catchy Cult singles. "Li'l Devil" is almost as worthy, while other cuts like "Wild Flower" and "King Contrary Man" would have sounded good in 1973 and sound just as good in a new century. There are a couple of missteps -- "Peace Dog" starts good but ends up being what happens when the Doors are used as a model in the wrong way, while the version of the Steppenwolf classic "Born to Be Wild" should be taken out and shot. Otherwise, an enjoyable pleasure from start to finish -- even if Astbury sings "plastic fantastic lobster telephone" at one point.
by Ned Raggett