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Electric Eel Shock


(Gearhead; US: 8 Mar 2005; UK: Available as import)

Background: Electric Eel Shock come from Japan, but constantly tour the world. Their new album, Go USA!, is essentially a re-sequencing and re-packaging of last year's Go Europe!, which is itself essentially a collection of new performances of songs from the band's first three non-commercial albums. The liner notes include photos of posturing, leaping, and near-nudity, blurred by movement. Those images should tell you most of what you need to know.

Mood: Let’s get it straight—Electric Eel Shock aren’t here to be innovative or give you insight into life or to empathize with you when you’re down. They’re here to whip out their guitars and rock. Unless you’re in (or want to get in) the mood for headbanging and pogoing and generally making a fool of yourself, don’t bother putting this disc on. You should play it loud, you should yell, and you should run around. Go USA! has no sensitive side. It’s come to buy you a beer, dump it over your head, and then spit on you.

Really?: Yes, and it will come back and spit on you again if you’re not full of Rock.

Sound: Start with the Ramones, but sludgier. Guitar, bass, drums. As far as I can tell, no overdubs. Straight-ahead, punchy. Some tracks, like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Can Rescue the World” and “Suicide Rock ‘n’ Roll”, rely on hooks and get stuck in your head. Others, like “Vegas Night”, are for throttling purposes only.

Vocals: Mostly singing, some screaming. You should be playing loud enough that your system’s having a little trouble handling it anyway. You should scream, too. “Zombie Rock ‘n’ Roll” contains a few zombie sounds. Old-time zombie sounds with “28 Days Later” speed. Zombies say, “Eraarhgh.” They will eat you, too, don’t forget.

Lyrics: If you care, take a hike, Einstein. Some of this is in Japanese, which I don’t undestand. I make up my own lyrics to these sections, mostly based on how awesome I am and how much I rock. The English lyrics seem to be about how much other people rock, and some of those I enjoy less. We agree on “Every day, every night I like Ramones”. We disagree on, “I play faster than Eddie Van Halen”. Vocalist/guitarist Akihoto Morimoto doesn’t play faster, but he’s waaaaaay cooler and I like the attitude. These guys aren’t hot for teacher, because they never went to school.

Confusion: EES titled one song “I Wanna Be a Black Sabbath Guy, But I Should Be a Black Bass”. It’s actually the most vulnerable song. Morimoto sings, “Let me alone, I wanna make myself”. They’re ready for you to find them ridiculous, but they’ve got an answer to that: “You may think my words are silly things / But I think that over”.

Shoe: “Puma”.

Sex: Rock stars want to get laid. Unknown rockers want to even more. “Speedy Joe” says, “Could you take off your bra in exchange for all?” and “Welcome, sexy teenager / Well, I am ... I am 36”. They close the album with advice on having a good sex life, singing, “Get and forget”. Rad.

Irony: Doesn’t matter.

Technology: Two video clips included. I can’t make them work.

Success: Rough leather-punk version of all that is Rock about Rock.

Awesomeness: Moderately high.


Justin Cober-Lake lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, kids, and dog. His writing has appeared in a number of places, including Stylus, Paste, Chord, and Trouser Press. His work made its first appearance on CD with the release of Todd Goodman's first symphony, Fields of Crimson. He's recently co-founded the literary fly-fishing journal Rise Forms.

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