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Electric Six
Zodiac
Metropolis Records
www.electricsix.com


There's something to be said for bands where meaning isn't as important as just sounding cool. They get a pass from having to make sense because they strive to simply have lyrics that sound like they're saying something, but are really just there to allow the vocalist to have something to sing. Electric Six is one of these bands, admitting themselves that most of their songs are about nothing. So, do the songs on Zodiac, the band's latest album, deliver on being fun party songs?

Sort of, a little, some of them, sure. The biggest problem with the album is that many of the songs lack a really strong hook, so they tend to run together. After listening to the album several times, you'd think it would be easier to recall the melodies to such songs as "Countdown To The Countdown," "Jam It In The Hole," or "It Ain't Punk Rock"; but these songs just play and are then forgotten about. That's not to say every song has this problem, there are a couple that are quite good, so let's start with those.

"American Cheese" is a lot of fun, as there are faux-political metaphors over a pounding beat. It's almost as though the song was written as a parody of political anthems, as it's worded in such a way that the hook, "I make my living in American cheese," sounds like it means more than it does. It makes for a beat that will have anyone dancing, with some nice guitar solos thrown in for good measure. "Clusterfuck!" has a more stop-start musical background as lead singer Tyler Spencer, a.k.a. Dick Valentine, uses a simple rhyming pattern to drive things along to the hook. The melody here is probably the most singable on the album and will have most listeners singing along by the end of it. "After Hours" is also fairly catchy, but it doesn't stand out as much aside from the repetition of the title.

The rest of the album suffers from the hooks not being quite strong enough to carry whole songs. The aforementioned "Jam It In The Hole" is a good example of this. It's not a bad song; the beat is fun and easygoing, managing to keep a light breezy feel, while keeping a little bit of an edge. But there isn't any real lyrical hook to the song. This is a problem since the music doesn't have any hook either. There is nothing, then, to make the song really stick in the listener's mind. This means that once the song is finished, it's harder to remember how it went. "It Ain't Punk Rock" suffers the same problem. Even though there are more memorable music and lyrics, the song doesn't feel really cohesive and when it transitions to other sections there is a bit of awkwardness. The hook subsequently gets lost in the shuffle because of the meandering... which isn't at all punk rock, though that may have been the point.

This album is a tough one on which to form a final thought. While it is fun and listeners aren't likely to be bored, the lack of strong hooks on many of the songs will make the album a forgettable experience. In the end, it's a decent album which will probably satisfy fans even if it doesn't win the band any new ones.

-Brenden Kirch

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