Southern Electric - Electric Superhighway

The Southern Electrics, apart from sharing their name with a major utilities supplier, claim to spell the future of rock 'n' roll. This future, as they see it, bears remarkable similarity to the early 1970's. It is, claims the press release, cutting edge psychedelia but surely that's a contradiction in terms? Regardless, the album opens with a nostalgic blast of electric psychedelia and never ones departs from this rather colourful cul-de-sac. That's not to say that this is a bad album, far from it, it's just less new and exciting than they seem to think it is. Perhaps they're better live.

As an album, it just about works and doesn't have any obvious low points but still struggles to really hold the attention. There are some great songs here, though and there's the sneaking suspicion that this just might be a grower. Something like 'Blame' will pass you by the first few times you listen to it, but after a while, the gentle electronic understated riff suddenly lodges itself in that receptive part of your addled brain and won't come out. The little burst of guitar just add to the ingredients. Then, there's things like 'Alien' which attempt to be off-the-wall and, as such are a little bit too quirky and twee to really stand anything but the gentlest criticism. Skip this sort of thing and you might find yourself returning to the album more and more.

'Media Coke Whore', again, is a return to the highs. A huge, repetitive and simple fuzzy beat that walks along carrying the song like Atlas carries the globe. There's more like this, as well, 'Spanish Fly' is a deceptively mild little song that opens with lovely cut-glass acoustic guitar and electronic effects before moving into darker territory then abruptly stopping. 'Go Dirty', again, is a fantastic, distorted funked up beat heavy number that really shows the band at their best.

On the whole, there are more highs than lows here, a good trip and certainly no bummer. It's nothing ground breaking, but lets give them the benefit of the doubt, shall we? They can build a song of towering intensity and create lovely, swirling landscapes of squealing noises. Unfortunately, they can also fall back into the safe position of things like 'Sirens' which seem to be by-the-numbers and, dare we say, bland? Still, there are some fine moments, and, in the right frame of mind, you could have some colourful fun with this album.



out of 10

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