Artist Profile: Electric Six

Every so often the music industry designates certain urban “hot spots” as rock revival epicenters, where A&R suits arrive in hordes, all vowing to take residency until they too have discovered a piece of the next big thing. Case in point: Detroit. Regardless of having birthed Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, and the MC5, Detroit has resurfaced on the hipster map thanks to bands such as the Von Bondies and the White Stripes. The Detroit rock scene has become something of an incestuous, feuding throwback to the days of gossip in the high school cafeteria and brawls in the locker room. Are they brother and sister or husband and wife? Did you see how Jack White destroyed Jason Von Bondies’ face?!

Somewhere in the midst of all this, fellow Motor City rockers Electric Six hooked up with England’s Beggars/XL Recordings, released their debut LP Fire, and smiled as it topped the European charts. Fire is campy, garage rock that makes you want to put on a pair of polyester plaid pants, down a bottle of whisky and dance suggestively with your best friend’s mom all night. Frontman Dick Valentine’s charisma is reminiscent of Mike Patton circa Faith No More’s Album of the Year and Mr. Bungle’s California, minus the spastic neurosis, and worth the price of the disc alone. You can’t go wrong with a singer who plays indoor soccer, has vivid nightmares about John Tesh and claims he dropped out of “TV weatherman school.”

Formed in 1996, Electric Six (formerly known as the Wildbunch) has been dubbed everything from garage rock to disco metal and, due mostly to the band’s UK success, is often placed in the same genre as the Darkness. But forget the Darkness – Electric Six redefines haughty, falsetto streaked rock. If Dick Valentine and Justin Hawkins were to face off in a celebrity death match, Valentine would grab Hawkins by those long blonde locks, bend him over and make him his bitch.

Electric Six delivers much in the same vein as Monster Magnet and several tracks off Fire echo the tone of Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” – boisterous rock jams smeared with metal riffage and served up with a healthy dose of self depreciating humor. Fire is a solid debut chock-full of sexual undertones that reek of sleaze and everything good about party rock.