Electric Six


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After 13 years, five prior albums, and a countless number of shows, Electric Six is still going strong. Tyler Spencer (aka Dick Valentine) still has his growl, his falsetto, and his sense of humor intact, as he spouts absurd lines from his tour bus diaries, noting: "There's no such thing as an electric tuba/the Detroit River's not a good place to scuba," "Except for GBV and Devo/Nothing seems to redeem Ohio," and "Still got something to put in ya/But we'll have to go to West Virginia." Since Fire had a goal of using the word "Fire" as many times as possible (933 times), there's a chance that Valentine may be going for a loose concept here. Then again, knowing that Valentine's admitted that 90-percent of his lyrics aren't really about anything, it's hard to tell. Themes aside, as always, the merit of an Electric Six album is based on how comical and energetic it is, and Kill shows that Valentine and the crew (Johnny Na$hinal, the Colonel, Tait Nucleus?, Percussion World, and Smorgasbord) are as eager as ever. Musically, they're at their most aggressive. The levels are maxed out, the amps are cranked, and the distortion dominates, as they barrel through genres; from the punky and short "You're Bored," to the loungey, organ ballad "My Idea of Fun," to the Auto-Tuned Euro dance groove "Newark Airport" -- the third song in their ongoing saga of chill-electro songs for airports (along with 2007's "Lucifer Airlines" and 2008's "Transatlantic Flight.") As on the last album, Flashy, cowbell metal dominates their sound, with songs like "Escape from Ohio" and "Waste of Time and Money" sharing more with '80s leather than '70s polyester. This darker, heavier tone makes the majority of Kill less of a party than Fire or I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master, but splendidly, Dance Commander rears his head to make demands like "Shake that tambourine/Shake that shaking machine!" in "Egyptian Cowboy" and encourages mass consumption in the splendid "Body Shot," which devolves from a grunge-disco jam into a wonderful, dubbed-out frenzy.

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