Thursday, February 08, 2007

Electric Mayhem: Sonic Express

The latest release, "Sonic Express" by the Electric Mayhem is light years away from 2006's "Beat Drum, Beat Drum." While "Beat Drum, Beat Drum" was a purely organic experience, "Sonic Express" electrifies and dazzles. Although it's only a four song EP, most reviewers agree, myself included, this is a good direction for the band.

Electric Mayhem in mid-groove

It is not to say that "Sonic Express" is filled to the gills with A+ material. Like all Electric Mayhem albums, it is either hit or miss. Some tracks literally explode, while others indulge in ridiculous theatrics.

Take for instance the opening piece, "I Don't Do Weddings." Dr. Teeth's croons about what a racket the wedding circuit is while complaining about how DJs are invading his turf. It has some excellent lyrics:

I won't do that
I won't
I can't
There ain't no money left
Not in that

I don't do weddings
Take that to the bank
I won't do weddings
My arms look like snakes

The harshness in the good Doctor's lyrics can't be denied. He's fed up. He's angry. Floyd, Janice, and Zoot are right on, but the drumming. The drumming is all over the place. I've got nothing, but respect for Animal. After all his 73 1/2 minute piece, "They Keep Me in Chains" off the double album "Heavy Fumes, Brighter Days" was legendary. It made John Bonham blush from beyond the grave! But the drumming on "I Don't Do Weddings" is total self indulgent crap. Was it his idea to add a drum solo on top of Zoot's sax solo?

Sadly the trouble doesn't end there. The second song, "Like Wow, It's Cool" features a great organ solo and overall the music is really tight. The drums are bit more sedated. Rumor has it that Floyd made Animal drink a 40 before the session. The only problem is the lyrics. Although I like the sound of Janice's vocals; she really should get someone else to write her words. Check this out:

Like Wow
It's Cool
So Like I'm singing and stuff

Like Wow
It's Great
I really like it

Like now
Like when
Like how
Like everything
Oh boy I like singing
It's heavy man

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but did she just make up those words on the spot? The third song was a honky tonk instrumental called "Trust the Dude in the Hat to Keep the Explosions Away." This piece rocked the house with solos galore! I am slightly disturbed about the cat meows and the heavy panting. I suppose that is the critic in me; Always trying to find something wrong with a masterpiece.

The last song on the EP was the one that made me cry. I'll admit that I am a softy for ballads written by Floyd. "Woman Ain't Gonna Open Her Eyes No More" is obviously an ode to Janice. The lyrics are touching:

Woman can't open her eyes
She says that they won't open up
I wish I could look into her eyes
But I think they are all sown up

Somebody help her
Somebody give her a hand
Because I fear I won't ever
Look into her eyes again

For this number the band was accompanied by a string quartet. The contrast with Floyd's gruff vocals yielded breath-taking results. Zoot starts up a sax solo just as Floyd hangs on to the word "again." It's perhaps one of the most magical moments in Mayhem history and an excellent way to conclude the album. The only way I I can describe it is "Rainbow Connection" on acid. It's that awesome.

Electric Mayhem's Sonic Express: B+

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