Album Reviews

Electric Six – Switzerland

(Metropolis) UK release date: 6 November 2006

Electric Six - Switzerland Electric Six are an act so keen to prove they are not a one-hit novelty act that they continue to churn out mediocre records like this latest album Switzerland. Sadly, in plodding along all they’ve achieved is an extensive back catalogue in forgettable music that is unrecognisable from the press release hyperbole.

Danger! High Voltage, which featured guest vocals from Jack White, burst on the scene on a cloud of excitement in 2003. It was dynamic, fun, and unlike anything else at the time. Cashing in on the Detroit scene of the time, Electric Six were full of promise and followed up with the less memorable but equally outrageous Dance Commander and Gay Bar singles. What has followed since has only been a severe disappointment and Switzerland can only serve to plunge Electric Six further back into obscurity.

“Switzerland is Electric Six’s finest album to date”, claims the press release, but for a band who has failed to ever release a decent album it is not much of a statement. However, Switzerland lacks any track with even a tenth of the standout potential of Danger! High Voltage. And it’s a critical absence for Switzerland, because there’s nothing on this record that makes you want to hear it a second time.

While Scissor Sisters have cornered the market so superbly in camp disco, electro pop, Electric Six’s latest effort sounds, at its worst, like the quirky entry in the Eurovision song contest. What was so refreshing about Electric Six, when they first arrived, was that they were so fresh and original, but on Switzerland they are so busy being eccentric that they’ve forgotten to write any decent tunes. The songwriting lacks melody, hooks and distinctiveness.

Lyrically Switzerland is as much fun as you would expect from the collective, but utterly pointless. The press release claims that you’ll find answers to deeper questions among some of the tunes in Switzerland, but empty references to Hitler in The Band In Hell does not add any intellectual merit, and neither does name-checking Clinton equate to witty political referencing in Plink Flamingos. The wit that graced their early single successes has somewhat disintegrated.

Musically, Switzerland demonstrates that Electric Six haven’t evolved much since their debut – each of these thirteen tracks could easily be mistaken for the weaker inclusions on their first album Fire. If anything they’ve lost that glimmer of spark that showed on the fabulous debut single Danger! High Voltage, proving that in spite of their prolific output they really are a one-hit wonder act.

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More on Electric Six
Electric Six – Switzerland
Electric Six: “We want to keep the sense of humour but tighten everything up” – Interview
Electric Six @ Forum, London
Electric Six – Fire
Electric Six @ ULU, London