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  Electric Sex  
  Bang! Bang!  
  Morphius Records  
Release Date:
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Bang! Bang! are a three piece Chicago band, who are ostensibly the electroclash descendants of early New Wave bands like Blondie or The Rezillos. Having gotten good reviews with their first, self-released EP, Do You Like It?, they've returned with Electric Sex, a 5 song tour de force released on Morphius Records.

The EP begins with Candy Stop, a song which harkens back to early 80s punky, angular New Wave. With bassist Gretta Fine leading the vocal charge, this comes across as something by Josie Cotton, albeit backed by an prominent bass line and scratchy guitars. It's a very brisk tune, yet fun and light. Then, towards the middle of the song, Fine and guitarist Jack Flash begin to belt out their lyrics in contrast. At that point, my point of comparison moves forward a few years to Scarlet Letters, off The Kiss Offs' first record.

The second song on the EP, On Fire, continues in that early New Wave kind of way. However, instead of looking towards America's West Coast, this one has a bass line straight out of the early catalogue of The Cure. Compared to the first song this tune seems a bit harder and more electronic. Yet, again, towards the middle, the song changes as the guitars become fuller and move towards the forefront as they continue to contrast with the dance-inducing bass riff. From these two songs, it's easy to see why Bang! Bang! are a self-proclaimed dance band, as the music is straight forward enough to get people moving, while still complex enough to be interesting.

Make You Believe is a focal point on the EP. It again has the angular, almost electroclash dance background, fronted by the vocal interplay between Fine and Flash (type that a few times, and think about the possibilities...). Although it has a relatively simple, singalong chorus, there is a precision to the musical construction, as the bass pulls forward to overwhelm the guitar effects, which have an abrasive quality. Yet another fun song in the vein of what Bang! Bang! do so well.

The fourth song, Something More is perhaps the most straight up rock number on the EP. It begins with a repetitive guitar riff, as Flash sings in a voice that would sound proper in any number of garage revival bands. The bass here is lost underneath the guitars, but still noticeable enough to propel the music forward. And, as it is throughout the EP, it's very easy to miss the skill of drummer Mike Wednesday. Wednesday plays with a very full sound that is typical on the surface, yet still allows the bass to be more of a melodic instrument. In some respects, with the angular guitars and bouncing beat, on this song Bang! Bang! sounds like a rougher and louder version of Atlanta's The Orphins.

Electric Sex ends with the title track, Electric Sex (Down on the Dance Floor). This is perhaps my favorite song on the EP, as it again harkens back to The Kiss Offs. It's quick, fast and hard, without the angular edges of their earlier songs. And as the sound grows, I can almost envision the band on stage, ready to kick over amps and blow up drum kits. In short, this is the one song that captures the frenetic energy and enthusiasm of Bang! Bang!'s live shows, where an infectious energy pervades the audience. And it ends everything on a high and strong note, leaving the listener wanting more.

Electric Sex is a bit of a mixed bag. It's a very solid EP, with something to offer many people. I personally like the raunchier guitar rock as opposed to the angular New Wave. With that in mind, I find the last two songs to be the best; however, I can easily understand why other listeners may find other songs more compelling. Either way, the one shortcoming of Electric Sex is that it doesn't do justice to Bang! Bang! and their live performances. However, if you purchase this and like it, I'd highly recommend seeing this band in concert.

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Tracers also saw Bang! Bang! in concert last month.


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