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Posted on October 23rd, 2014 (12:00 pm) by Shayna Parr

For their most recent album, Electric Six plays with the concept of the human zoo. This concept has existed in art and literature for centuries, but the first known reference to a human zoo is from the writings of a 12th century Flemish monk by the name of Wenslaus De Trappe, who wrote of his desires to cage human beings and charge money to put them on display. Since then, the concept of the human zoo has been found everywhere from Restoration literature to Nazi propaganda to this present-day alternative rock album, Human Zoo.

Human Zoo begins with “Karate Lips,” which opens with the band’s bizarre, creepy chanting of “Electric Six, Karate Kiss.” The entrance of horribly pounding, crunching guitars and Dick Valentine's vocals bring to mind Tim Curry’s awful singing in Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is never something a legitimate musician wants to be compared to. “It’s Horseshit” is slightly better, but the crunch of the lead singer’s vocals on the lowest point of the “the numbers don’t add up” run is still cringe-worthy.

“Alone With Your Body” is similarly upbeat with more old-guy-trying-to-sound-cool vocals. Though the backup vocals actually have pitches this time, they still somehow sound chant-like. “Satanic Wheels” keeps up the beat, but when the vocals dip into the low range, it’s hard to differentiate pitches. “Gun Rights” is a sarcastic, ironic romp that, while amusing to listen to, is still hard on the ears due to the stretched-sounding vocals.

“I've Seen Rio in Flames” brings back the Tim Curry feel, and while the band may have meant for it to sound ironic, it doesn't make for a pleasant listening experience either. “(Who the Hell Just) Call My Phone” is plain bizarre, though it does have some head-banging potential despite its hip-hop-esque feel. Thankfully, the following track, “I Need A Restaurant,” is much more listenable, possibly because Electric Six might be better at more typical rock. Unfortunately, “Worst Movie Ever” might have to be renamed “Worst Song Ever,” particularly when Valentine dabbles in screamo-like sounds.

Overall, Electric Six’s latest release is a jumble of weird, unpleasant sounds and irony that’s painful to listen to. With Human Zoo, Electric Six certainly has created something unique, but they have also demonstrated that unique doesn't always mean listenable.

Track List:

  1. Karate Lips
  2. It's Horseshit!
  3. Alone With Your Body
  4. Satanic Wheels
  5. Gun Rights
  6. I've Seen Rio In Flames
  7. (Who The Hell Just) Call My Phone?
  8. I Need A Restaurant
  9. Worst Movie Ever
  10. I'm The Devil
  11. Good View Of The Violence
  12. The Afterlife
Electric Six: Human Zoo
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

45 / 100
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