Genre-blurring Detroit rockers still outrageous, still eclectic on their SPIN-approved fifth album, Flashy.
What? “Look out, here comes the flashy man,” Dick Valentine, singer of Motor City rockers Electric Six, screams over crunchy guitars and a disco-rama of synths on “Flashy Man,” a tune off the band’s aptly titled fifth studio album, Flashy. One listen to the record and it seems Valentine is musing about himself. The 13-track collection is a totally flamboyant amalgamation of funk, garage-rock, new wave, and metal that is truly in-your-face. And Valentine’s cigarette-raw chants lead the assault, as batshit crazy combinations of instrumentation — distorted power-pop guitars, blasting horns, and creepy keys — unite in a shocking, silly, and undeniably enticing sound.
Who? Originally formed under the short-lived moniker the Wildbunch in 1996, the Electric Six have always been the brainchild of singer/songwriter Valentine, a.k.a. Tyler Spencer. Part of the DNA of the Motor City’s incestuous rock scene, the band saw numerous lineups before its brush with fame after the 2003 release of their debut album, Fire, which featured backing vocals from Jack White on “Danger! High Voltage.” Three records followed, including 2005’s Senor Smoke, which stirred controversy in the U.K. with a cover of Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” and its accompanying video featuring Valentine as the ghost of Freddie Mercury. Currently Electric Six include the Colonel (guitar), Johnny Na$hinal (guitar), Smorgasbord! (bass), Tait Nucleus? (keyboards), and Percussion World (drums).
Fun Fact: Though it didn’t make it to Flashy‘s final tracklist, Valentine tells SPIN.com that during the new album’s sessions, Electric Six recorded a tune entitled “The Newark Airport Boogie,” about, well, dancing in all places inappropriate. “We wanted to bring the boogie somewhere people have absolutely no business boogying,” he says. “We settled on Newark Airport, but Stansted Airport outside of London was a close second.” Fans can expect the song on the band’s next album, Valentine explains.
Now Hear This: Electric Six – “Formula 409″(DOWNLOAD MP3)
PLUS: The video for “Formula 409″