Thirteen. It’s a really lucky number. When you turn thirteen you get to have a bat mitzvah. That’s the definition of lucky. Want another example? If you live on the thirteenth floor of an apartment building, you get to tell people you live on the fourteenth floor, and this allows you to come off like a slightly higher roller. You see where we are going with this? Thirteen is not bad at all…nay, it’s good!
Name a band that has made thirteen albums besides Sparks. You can’t do it. Now you can. Electric Six joined the lucky thirteen club with their latest release, How Dare You (Metropolis Records, 2017). Electric Six has been around a long time now and must be treated with respect, the kind of respect that Sparks gets. As well as Neil Young. Neil Young probably has thirteen albums come to think of it. Treat us like you would Sparks and Neil Young. But respect, Electric Six knows, is a two-way street. How Dare You is the sound of a rock and roll band respecting its fans, giving them what we have to believe they want. By now, we’ve tried all the approaches to being Electric Six and How Dare You is a sampler’s plate of some of the finest approaches.
How Dare You moves seamlessly from the bouncy and poppy numbers like “Arrive Alive” and “She’s a Forgery” to the brooding and menacing “Dark Politics” and the title track “How Dare You”. Dare we say that E6 ventures into prog rock with relatively complicated numbers like “The Hotel Mary Chang” and “The Chimes of Titus”. Does that sound like a band down on its luck? Fuck no. How Dare You is a showcase of talents, ideas and dreams and it winds its way through you like a colonoscope that is administered without anesthesia, ending with the gorgeous alt-country stylings of “A Quiet Man”, a sad waltz for all the West Texas petroleum industry whistleblowers who live the rest of their days in witness protection programs.
To summarize, How Dare You is Electric Six’s thirteenth album, but that the only thing unlucky about that is that it just means you have to wait one more year for their epic ass and titties record, Staten Island Ass Squad, which will also come out on Metropolis Records. When you look at Electric Six, you do not meet their gaze and you revere them the same way you would Sparks, Neil Young and Venom. And respect, as always, is earned. Luck, in all its various forms, is just a number.
Minneapolis rock legend, Mark Mallman has created a masterwork that turns the classic concept album on its head. The End Is Not The End was released March 25, 2016 on Polkadot Mayhem. In this age of cynicism, with too many people believing rock is dead, comes a sincere telling of an emotional trial we all must face at some point. Mark Mallman has created a 21st century Scary Monsters, except this time, the good guy wins.