The Detroit-based, Electric Six’s fourth and latest release on Metropolis borrows its name from a drawing by the German artist George Grosz which depicts and grotesquely satirizes the gluttony, greed and excess of Berlin between World War 1 and World War II. And although I Shall Exterminate Everything around Me doesn’t focus on 1920s Berlin, it does focus on and satirize excess. In fact, the Electric Six appear to be madly obsessed with excess – from the sixteen songs on the album which constantly (and excessively) switch genre, tone and even mood, to the title of the record . . .But there’s also a strange sense of whimsical fun throughout, as this album is perhaps one of the most danceable, funkiest and most angular-sounding albums since the Rapture’s Echoes and some of LCD Soundsystem’s work with the strange satirical bent of Devo – humor so strange, so darkly surreal that most people the average person probably won’t get it in the first place.
The album’s opener "It’s Showtime," thematically should remind you of songs such as "In the Flesh" on Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the Beatles’ "Sgt. Pepper" on their legendary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, starting with a jazzy acoustic feel before getting aggressively loud with a much darker, angrier feel, as if they actually loathed the phoniness of performing in front of an audience. From the second track on, the album is mostly aggressive, angular rock mixed with disco, funk and pop elements at the strangest, most unpredictable moments. A song like "Dance Pattern" begins with a disco-era flourish before turning into angular pop with handclaps interspersed throughout.
However, perhaps because of the excessive nature of this album some of the songs just feel – well, a bit excessive. "Lenny Kravitz" a song which disses an obvious target just seems to be too little too late. Plus, lead singer, Dick Valentine’s voice can be a bit annoying as he gyrates between growling much like Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis, crooning much like several other new wave influenced bands and screeching wildly. Musically, the band is tight as they play with several different genres – often simultaneously. It might not be a perfect album but it’s one of the better efforts heard so far this year.