It’s always a challenge for a band to release a number of successful albums and then do them justice onstage. It’s another achievement altogether to then come out with a recording of the live album that truly captures the energy of the performance. It took me a few times through this album for it to grow on me, but Detroit-based six-piece funk/garage/metal hybrid Electric Six has done just that. This is not one you can just put on in the background, as it commands your full attention easily and instantly.
All the gritty, funky intensity of Electric Six in the studio comes out tenfold on Absolute Pleasure. The influences of glam and glitter like Queen, KISS, and Captain Beefheart, shine through brightly, adorned with a slickness that rivals the Talking Heads circa Stop Making Sense.
Their bluesy, stomper hit “Danger! High Voltage!” keeps up a furious and formidable pace. Naturally, their manic, tongue-in-cheek hit single, “Gay Bar,” is also included. One of the best things about this album is its production value, in that every song is tight and orchestrated even during improvisational bits. “Infected Girls” is another highlight, with Dick Valentine’s (Tyler Spencer) snarling vocals pushing through a flawless mix of the band, dirty organ included. The album segues right into a disco-infused “Jam It In the Hole,” as bold as its title suggests.
In this day and age, a well-recorded live album is a treat as concert ticket prices rise and many bands are left wondering how to give their fans a comparable experience in their living room, or their iPod headphones, as it were. Absolute Pleasure fits its title and is a solid example of how to get closer to a band even when it’s just a bunch of mp3’s in your ears.