album reviews

Electric Six
Metropolis Records (2006)
Night Kills the Day
The Study of Man... and the Developed Shadow
Score Records (2007)

The most charming characteristic of Detroit rockers Electric Six is their audacious irreverence: When coupled with frontman Dick Valentine's overeager growl, their songs championing sex and drugs take on an amusing irony. This is most prevalent on "Infected Girls," their ode to unprotected sex and STDs, on which Valentine bellows his absurd chorus ("Calling unprotected girls! Infected girls do it better!") over a slinky, jumpy electro beat.

Valentine seems to revel in pushing his lyrics several notches beyond sleazy: Amid a celebration of substance abuse on "I Buy the Drugs," he interjects a Los Angeles post office box address that will fill any "prescription." "Rubber Rocket" is a not-so-double entendre with lyrics about plugs and sockets, in the midst of which Valentine drops a line that perfectly captures his frustration ("Girls like you make guys like me make love to a computer"). Those slightly less sordid lines may be the exception to the album's over-the-topness, but Electric Six just oozes with a playful energy, especially at their most cheeky.

Night Kills the Day's debut is a more brooding effort with obvious sonic allusions to the Cure and Depeche Mode. The dark, gothy influences serve them well, particularly on "Dive!" with its trancelike, haunting chorus, "We are, we are, we are, we are the godforsaken generation."

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 30 March 2007, Page WE10
.: Items mentioned above on Switzerland (Electric Six, 2006); The Study of Man... and the Developed Shadow (Night Kills the Day, 2007).