On the flip side then, you have, say... MARILYN MANSON, who’s covers mostly sound like the rejected pile, from the already rejected pile, from BTEC talent show auditions from Wheretheactualfuckistan, that weren’t even so bad they were amusing. Sweet dreams are in fact made, when you are NOT butchering the EURYTHMICS thank you Mazza.
This then brings us to ELECTRIC SIX. The Detroit alt./experimental rockers, while renowned for their 2003 hits “Gay Bar” and “Danger! High Voltage”, are recording and touring machines. Dick Valentine and co almost never stop, especially Dick...Dick just keeps on going...*Cough* excuse me. Honestly though, they’re in double digits with their albums and almost live on the road.
While they throw a cover of THE OSMONDS hit “Crazy Horses” into the mix occasionally, their only real cover of any notoriety came when they released QUEEN’s classic “Radio Gaga”, which stirred up some mild controversy...other than that, they’re as original as they come. So, it’s surprising then, that 2021 finds the dance commanders releasing “Streets Of Gold” via Cleopatra Records...an entire album’s worth of covers! The trouble is with Electric Six...what the hell can we expect? Let’s find out...
The album opens up with a version of “Don’t Change”, which was originally a 1982 hit for Australian rockers INXS...and musically it’s kept somewhat loyal to the original. It’s got the synth driven opening and characteristics, and remains upbeat; it’s a fun little track 40 years on, though Dick’s own vocal twang gives the track a slightly different feel. It’s the kind of track you can easily see the band having fun with live, and it’s a fairly decent start. Next up, we have a cut from one ROKY ERIKSON...and last time we crossed paths with him, it was courtesy of GHOST covering “If You Have Ghosts”, which was in fact superb. Here, we have a take on his 1981 effort “Click Your Fingers Applauding The Play”, and the rough-edged psychedelic-tinged, classic rock frankly suits Electric Six perfectly. The soft gallop of the guitar and especially the lyrical structure benefit Dick’s own style, and a cover such as this simply makes sense. Even if the high notes are questionable...like, Barry Gibb stepping on Lego...
For a band as eccentric as Electric Six, it's easy to assume there must be some properly deranged, obscure cuts here making up this compilation of covers, but to be fair they’ve included some big names. ALICE COOPER gets a nod with a cover of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and again, tonally, it’s fairly true to the original instrumentally. It retains a classic, semi-glam rock aesthetic and the simplicity of the track enables the band to just, have fun performing a track they enjoy. We get a track from KISS; “Strutter”...and I just want it to be known, they are the ultimate catfish band. You look at Kiss, and expect something like, VENOM...something hellish and visceral, but then you remember only Gene Simmons looks demonic, the others just look like a bunch of face painted spandex-clad twats. I digress, this version is better. Enough said.
Some questions DO have to be asked though...as we get Dick Valentine wrapping his vocals around “Little Lies” by FLEETWOOD MAC, which is arguably one of the sweetest songs ever written. There are soft vocal harmonies with delicate synths layered throughout, giving an almost childlike innocence, that are balanced by some adequate guitar surges through the chorus, but Dick hasn’t got the voice to REALLY pull this off. Sure, it’s fun, and you can’t not enjoy this song, but sadly this isn’t a patch on the original. Our lead single then...”Yah Mo B There”...by JAMES INGRAM sounds like, the most, recherché of all possible options given the aforementioned, but it works! The classic, synth driven, funk-led R’n’B leans heavily towards Electric Six’s general output. A tad annoying, don’t get me wrong, but it works.
Overall, this collection of tracks is equally interesting as it is enjoyable. There are certain tracks that the band have adapted well, and some that don’t quite sit right with their established sound, but it makes for an adventure as much as it does a listen. It gives you more of an idea of where Electric Six formed; as the funky, jazz-fuelled, glam rock is a style they’ve been fine tuning and owning since those days of “Fire” etc. More of a bonus treat for the long-term die-hards than anything else; it’s got its moments but there are several more important records to start with if you are new to Electric Six. Either way, the band continue life on the road in the UK this December, and, yeah...yah mo B there...