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The Joy Of Six
on 13 April 2010
Straight off the bat, let's get one confession out in the open, I freely admit to being a huge, dedicated, Electric Six fan. I have all of their albums and have been lucky enough to have seen them live on over a dozen occasions. However, it's fair to say that whilst I have always stuck with them and they have always delivered the goods on at least a few tracks on each album, the last couple of records "I Shall Destroy Everything Around Me Which Restricts Me From Being The Master" and "Flashy" have been a little patchy and I was starting to wonder if they'd ever make an album as good as "Senór Smoke" or "Switzerland" again, turns out I needn't have worried! This is an absolute belter of an album that can stand shoulder to shoulder with their best work and is one of the best albums I've heard in the last year.
The band sounds magnificent on this record, the guitars seem louder, the rhythm section sounds crisp and full, Tait Nucleus's keyboards are well showcased both when delivering catchy hooks and equally when subtly adding nuance in the background and Dick Valentine's vocals are right there front and centre sounding absolutely enormous.
The band still occasionaly break out the disco-influenced dancey feel that was their calling card early in their career and Valentine's lyrics still contain the dark humour and off-the-wall moments that are so often his trademark, but in general they have (whisper it) matured into a powerful rock band with a diverse set of influnces which make sense when blended together through their unique filters and they aren't shy of mixing genuine sentiment and political points in with their strange flights of fancy these days. The times when they were thought by most to be nothing more than a gimmick band are now long behind them and they deserve to be respected as one of the best alternative rock bands still recording.
Highlights of this particular record include "A Waste Of Time and Money" with it's smart lyrics and it's taught chorus, the insane "Egyptian Cowboy" that has lyrics simultanously absurd and yet meaningful backed by a wash of guitar harmonics and an insistent riff, the fabulously melodic and anthemic "Escape From Ohio" which will be appreciated by pretty much anyone barring proud residents of the Buckeye state (What's so great about a buckeye?) and is probably my favourite track of all, "One Sick Puppy" and the oddly disqueting "Steal Your Bones" are also very enjoyable. "Newark Airport Boogie" is a time to exercise your dancing feet and you may not be able to help yourself once exposed to its infectious groove. "White Eyes" is also a standout track. Perhaps the only real disappointment is the song they premiered first to the world with the internet-only video "Body Shots" which is a little bit by the numbers.
All in all a very good album where even the slightly weaker tracks are pretty good, but which is home to some of the best tunes of the band's career to date. Buy this album without hesitation and for pity sake buy yourself a ticket to see them live at the next available opportunity, for as good as they are on this record, they are always at their absolute best live.