Electric Six: Mustang
There are bands that are parody music, and they wear their title proudly: The Lonely Island raps their way into our hearts and funny bones, and Weird Al manages to give people a li’l chuckle after almost 40 years. Then there are bands that, despite creating fun, interesting and occasionally poignant songs, cannot escape this title. Tenacious D seem to begrudgingly accept it, but Electric Six tend to swing between goofs and hard rockin’ masters of wordplay rather frequently, usually in the same album. their debut laid the stage for the hilarity with songs of intensity and burning purpose like Electric Demons in Love and I Invented the Night, but when it rained it poured: Gay Bar, Dance Commander, She’s White.
With every album, the line between funny and memorable blurred considerably, but not without bumps. It reached a head with Kill’s bassy, massively heavy and morbid lyricism, but right after the return to form of Zodiac, their sense of humor bled inappropriately into their music with Heartbeats and Brainwaves. All the newfangled electronics and forced lyricism diluted their message.
Mustang tries to remedy this dry spell to minor avail. Electric Six’s master frontman let his voice homogenize for the electro-pop of Heartbeats, but he dons a headband and a mullet straight from Van Halen themselves for Mustang (the cover is the very embodiment of the masculine not-afraid-to-cry eyeliner 80’s sensibility). Songs like Nom De Plume walk that thin line, it’s drenched in neon paint, but Late Night Obama Food and Cheryl vs. Darryl are unsightly hiccups in their writing. Conversely, Jessica Dresses like a Dragon is still pedantic, but hides some rather emotive subject matter.
Iron Dragon and Miss Peaches Wears an Iron Dress both carry the lumbering piano-power-balladry that their music needed to return to glory, with Iron Dragon taking the cake for one of the best songs they’ve written in years, but there are still problems that should not be overlooked. Adam Levine is the crowned garbage jewel of Mustang, and drags it down immensely simply by putting a direction onto their fun aggression. Just listen to it. Overall, Mustang is a large step for the band, and in a correct direction, but there’s obviously still a long way to go.
Electric Six’s Website
Please listen to Iron Dragon, it’s so good.