Electric Six Album Review:
I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master
by Audrey Dimola
Published in Ins&Outs Magazine, Vol. II, Issue 1 – May 2008 (pg. 105)
Since their 2003 debut, Detroit’s Electric Six has made it clear that their music is anything but short on personality, and their newest album, extravagantly titled I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master, still serves up rock and roll with tongue planted firmly in cheek. This band is pretty much out of their minds: sexual, political, pop culture-savvy, high energy, and some of the most fun you’ll ever have listening to music – if you enjoy a generous helping of good times and outrageousness, of course.
Lead singer Dick Valentine has been bestowing his vocal swagger and demented rock genius upon the masses since the band’s beginnings as The Wildbunch in 1996, but although the rest of this offbeat cast of characters has changed over the years, the humor that drives it all has remained throughout. As with any of their previous releases, it doesn’t take long to realize that Electric Six has no problem with exercising their imaginations. Four albums in, they show no signs of running out of over-the-top expressions to add to their catalogue, and introduce new sounds and themes without forgetting where they’ve been.
At sixteen tracks, Exterminate is Electric Six’s longest release to date, but what they call an album that is “excessive in its exploration of excess” does not disappoint. In “Down at McDonnelzzz,” Valentine busts out his falsetto for the verses, and the chorus, with its brilliant barrage of “McDonnelzzz”-themed lyrics, is contagious. Who else could pull off rhyming “Ronnell McDonell” with “hittin’ the bottle”? There are many other gloriously ridiculous musical moments such as this, including the biting “Lenny Kravitz,” another particularly standout track that is classically Electric Six – up-tempo, ultra cheeky, and lyrically outrageous. The band stakes out some new territory with the chugging rhythm and bluesy delivery of “Riding On The White Train.” Electric Six also offers up the utterly enjoyable “Dance Pattern,” an ode to dancing and self-doubt, and the delightfully fierce “Feed My Habit,” as well as “Broken Machine,” the technologically tragic tale of a machine yearning to be human that actually features one of the album’s catchiest choruses.
All in all, the album winds down to the last clever line of the lovely “Dirty Looks” with the band in fine form. They may leave some scratching their heads, but Electric Six struts to the beat of their own synthesizer, and their best songs are absolutely bursting with the kind of character that has always set them apart.