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How Dare You *
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  • Once upon a time -- back in the '60s and '70s, you know, the Bronze Age -- it was pretty much a given that a working rock band put out an album every year, toured behind it, and then rolled back into the studio to repeat the cycle. That time line has all but vanished in the 21st century, but the men of Electric Six have the sort of work ethic that harks back to those halcyon days. Since 2005, Electric Six have dropped at least one album every year, sometimes more, and 2017 has proven to be no exception, as How Dare You was delivered unto their fans in October of that year. Along with being industrious, the E6 are also reliable; while they haven't delivered a lunatic masterpiece like Switzerland or I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me from Being the Master in a while, they haven't been tossing off duds, either, and How Dare You is a testimony that this band's devotion to its own strange creation is not a sometime thing. Still dealing in hard rock bombast, dance-rock pomp, and a wisenheimer's worldview, How Dare You is Electric Six doing what they do best, with Dick Valentine's gloriously mannered vocals expounding on his myriad obsessions as the guitars, keys, and drums pop behind him like an exceptionally long string of firecrackers. While 2016's Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres put a greater emphasis on electronics and drum machines, How Dare You sounds more organic, with strong drumming from guest percussionist Todd Glass (of the Muggs), and Kyle Shutt of the Sword intensifies the guitar attack on these sessions. And can any other band these days actually use the phrase "Grody to the max" in a lyric and make it work? If How Dare You isn't likely to bring many new converts to Electric Six, it's a very entertaining example of their own unique brand of mania, and that they've been able to keep up this craziness for over two decades without letup is an achievement they can be proud of. ~ Mark Deming
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