The world of music is a rapidly evolving, mercurial cluster of confusion that can see new artists and genres of music come and then die just as quickly. In this typhoon of variables and insecurity sits a formidable Detroit rock band that has long defied the volatility of the industry to consistently please their fan base with face-melting albums every year. Electric Six has graced the year 2015 with Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die!, their 11th studio album since they debuted in 2003.
Electric Six found mainstream success out of the gate with their debut album, Fire, which included their most popular songs “Danger! High Voltage” and “Gay Bar”, which, after 12 years they have yet to top. One could argue that the hyperbolic album title, Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die, is a plea to their fans to keep the band financially viable. It’s more likely the title is an arbitrary declaration that hints at the album’s darker themes like death and mortality. The album is genre-bending yet simultaneously fortified with the signature Electric Six sound, which combines their infectious disco-metal with lead singer Dick Valentine’s tongue-in-cheek pompous lyrics.
From the pounding, driving opener, “Drone Strikes”, through the 70’s-influenced guitar anthem “Two Dollar Two”, Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die! reveals that Electric Six is increasingly aware that they will die , but will not go out quietly. The tracks “Kids Are Evil”and “A Variation of Elaine” are power pop anthems, while the prog-rock showmanship of “Slow Motion Man”, and even the tribute to Elvis Presley, “Dime Dime Penny Dime”, keeps listeners on their toes. “Big Red Arthur” is the cream of the effort, playing out like a hilarious rock-opera with a bombastic and infectious chorus.
While this album will not serve as a renaissance for the band, it is a solid offering that is guaranteed to entertain. Electric Six can be exciting to listen to on record but the true magic of their existence lies in their riveting live performance, which is a spectacle of epic proportions. Electric Six may not be winning a Grammy anytime soon – not to say that they don’t deserve one – but the hard-nosed, resilient sextet is comfortable being the comical and fun-loving rock gods at a time when the industry is rife with self-seriousness.