Album Review: Electric Six – “Bride of the Devil”
Some fifteen years ago Electric Six released the album Fire. Let that sink in for a second. Fifteen years ago. With hits such as Gay Bar, Improper Dancing, and Danger! High Voltage! it was a huge hit, and arguably marked the peak of the band’s notoriety. However, Dick Valentine and co (although with a line up that has changed significantly and frequently during that time) continued putting out music fairly prolifically, with the follow up Senor Smoke, the brilliantly titled I Will Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master, right up to 2014’s Human Zoo. They are even releasing a Christmas album this year. That prolific recording schedule continues with new album Bride of the Devil, and it is everything you would expect from an Electric Six album.
Bride of the Devil continues to employ the band’s unique sound, well-trodden a path as it may be. It’s all about big, funky riffs with Valentine’s unique vocal stylings over the top. The album opens (on the helpfully titled The Opener) with a surprisingly heavy, sleazy riff that initially feels like something of a mismatch to the vocals, but it quickly develops into a very catchy number. This provides a great contrast to the second track, Daddy’s Boy which starts with an intro that evokes classic-era Pixies before giving way to Electric Six’s signature sound. Other highlights on the album include Hades Ladies, a more upbeat disco rock track, and Witches Burning, which has a ridiculously memorable earworm chorus and may well be the best track on the album. They even manage something akin to a ballad (or as close to a ballad as Electric Six are capable of) with The Worm in the Wood, which almost verges into Nick Cave territory. Although I feel that might have been a slight misstep, you can’t fault them for trying.
From a purely musical standpoint, Bride of the Devil is actually quite accomplished. (It Gets) (A Little) Jumpy is perhaps the standout in terms of musical composition, while the title track provides an eerie introduction that gives way to a delightful synth, before returning to typical Electric Six fare. For me, some of the superb efforts on the composition side of things are sullied by Dick Valentine’s over-exuberance and penchant for comedic sleaze in his lyrical content. That said, you don’t listen to an Electric Six album for taste and high brow content, so it’s certainly forgivable.
Bride of the Devil is very much the typical Electric 6 offering. You know what you are getting, and the album ticks all the boxes you would expect, as well as a few that you wouldn't. The band perhaps could do with growing somewhat the over-exuberance their sound, and Bride of the Devil does not represent that sort of growth, but you know what they say, “if it ain’t broke…”