Friday, September 21, 2007

Electric Eel Shock Makes No Mistake

Big Mistake
Double Peace Records

by Rinjo Njori

Awhile back, I reviewed Electric Eel Shock's sophomore effort Beat Me. The review came out a good time after the actual release and assumed that it would go unnoticed. Their management quickly fired off an e-mail thanking me for the "best" bad review of the album. I pointed what I felt were the good things and bad things about the album. If that review came off as bad then so be it, but there was no denying that Electric Eel Shock had some talent and a huge amount of appeal to any Japanese music fan. While they are not in the same league as Guitar Wolf, they are definitely a close cousin of garage rockers Teengenerate.

The band rose to prominence via New York, Tokyo, and Utrecht. With the relative success of Beat Me (other critics loved it) and a diligent management team (see above), album number three was a sure thing. Before TransWorld Ultra Rock (out on 10/1/07) jettisons them to "fame", Electric Eel Shock gives us three tracks from this "soon to be" international rock sensation.

"Big Mistake" is the only "English only" language track and a decent mid tempo rocker that serves only to anchor the other three tracks. I imagine live versions would also serve a similar purpose. Most notably it's great to see that lyrically Aki Morimoto (guitars and vocals) has moved beyond such juvenile tirades as "Don't Say Fuck" and "I Can Hear Sex Noise". "Dice De Try" makes a decent attempt to "metal" up Uplift Mofo Party Plan-era Red Hot Chili Peppers. Aki may not be the perfect fusion of Anthony Kiedis and Hillel Slovak, but other bands that try to emulate the sound fare worse. The mix of Japanese on the verse with an English language classic rock styled chorus is relatively inspired. This is also a much better experiment than the electro nonsense that they dabbled in on Beat Me. Electric Eel Shock's brightest moment is "No Standing Still". Take Beat Me's "Slow Down" and stick with the metal instead of digressing into Meat Puppets-styled psychedelia and you get this track. Beat Me dabbled in too many genre's within each song. This song, as well as the others, keeps it focused. Aki deftly combines Too Fast For Love-era Motley Crue with a Japanese version of Bruce Dickinson style vocals and Electric Eel Shock nail the song. Mick Mars might accuse Aki of stealing a riff, but the song is a faithful homage to all that was perfect about 80s Sunset Strip style metal.

If Electric Eel Shock can produce half a dozen more songs that remotely resemble these three songs then their forthcoming album should once again satisfy critics and garner some fans. The only obstacle (and a truly unfair one) are the Japanese lyrics which the average English speaking music fan may dismiss. Hopefully their charisma will carry the band over that hump and give the band the chance it deserves.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!