“The Electric Mess V”: Album Review

Let’s face it, the world sucks right now. We’ve truly come face to face with the fragileness of humanity and the dire consequences of our actions. However, music is a fuel to our re-construction process, a light leading us through the tunnel. Who better to play a part than The Electric Mess? Hailing from New York City, the genre-defying garage- punk quintet are ferociously returning with their fifth full-length album.

Whether you are familiar with the band or not, The Electric Mess stays true to their uniquely versatile sound. Expect to travel from post-punk, garage rock, classic rock, to folk/psychedelic – sometimes in just one song. The group’s ability to create multiple universes of sound is simply unmatched. Featuring front-woman Esther Crow (vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion), Oweinama Biu (keyboards, vocals), Dan Crow (guitar), Derek Davidson (bass), and Alan J. Camlet (drums, vocals), all ten songs compete contentedly.

The album starts with a quick attention grabber titled “Too Far.” It boasts an acoustic foundation, which rises into splitting guitar and synthesizer solos—a perfect segue as to what The Electric Mess has in store. You’ll arrive to a familiar track, “Last Call”, which the band released as a single and music video in March. Biu takes the reigns on lead vocals, supplying us with a catchy, yet haunting hook cut with Crow’s and Camlet’s harmonies. It is a darkly memorable psych-pop song, with a jumping verse of beat 2 and 4 accents and frequent instrument breaks.

TEM’s most recent single will sure to become a live-show favorite. “City Sun” traverses’ post-punk and classic psychedelics. Crow describes the song to, “… reflect a yearning to dig deep inside and stay positive, even though the outside world keeps hurling challenges at us.”

Her punk-influenced vocals terrorize with the band’s energy. A Theremin uniquely showcases the bands instrument flexibility, also backed with upbeat and driven drum/bass groves. And of course, Dan Crow’s iconic bluesy/classic garage guitar solos.

The Electric Mess V keeps pumping out hits from there. “Speed of Light” features rhythmically heavy guitar riffs from Dan Crow. Reminiscent of heavy punk and classic metal, it’s arguably their biggest headbanger on the album. There’s also a few auditory breaks thrown in. “Laserbrain,” an acidic slow jam, will space-out your thoughts. With circling organs matched with expressive guitar leads, Esther proceeds to give a nonchalant and back phrased vocal performance.

“Before the World Blows Up” was my personal favorite. A very surf-punk-esque guitar riff drives the tune with the thumping bass grooves. Crow’s lyrical strike is phenomenal here, especially as the song swells into her chorus hook. Then, everything explodes into a chaotic outro definitive of the bands sound. Arriving to the album’s conclusion, “After the Money’s Gone”, brings us full circle into all that makes up The Electric Mess. It’s a mellow and dark send- off, mostly stripped of overdrive and punk rhythms. This allows the band’s expressiveness to return in full force, with constant vocal trading from Biu and Crow, beautiful organ-led verses and jams, and tamed guitar melodies. Before leaving, you will realize: yes, all good things will come to an end, so what will I do next?

What truly makes The Electric Mess V iconic to its genre, is the fact it does not fit into a specific realm. I don’t think there could be a better blend of musical influences; you hear the dystopian-esque of Black Sabbath, new wave catchiness of The B52s, an instrumental bond like The Velvet Underground, grittiness of The Stooges, and more. At a time when the world is clouded in negativity, The Electric Mess found a way to paint the darkness onto a canvas of hope.

Overall Album Rating: 4.2/5

Watch the official music video for their song “Last Call” here:

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