Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Die Electric's Push and Pull

Grade: B+
So, I'll be honest and personal about this: I have a huge musical-man-crush on Dave Gardner. Be it my 400-year-old love for the Selby Tigers or my general awe-struckness at his wizard-like abilities during the mastering process, I've appreciated his work for some time (he also recorded Dillinger Four's Situationist Comedy and both Hold Steady records).

However, until this past week, I had failed to purchase his Die Electric record (Heart of a Champion, 2004), which, in turn, failed both him and myself. It seems that the more I tighten my grasp, the more star systems slip through my fingers, just as the more I claim to possess a universal and comprehensive knowledge of the local music scene, a gem like Die Electric gets by my radar.

So first off, I would like to apologize to everyone I know for not drawing your attention to this killer record sooner.

In short, the record is inspiring. Not only does the production quality exceed any normal punk-rock parameter, but the songwriting keeps the band out of most, if not all, genre confining loop-holes.

The compression on the Misha Dashevsky's drums keeps the record punchy and dynamic as the kick drums tops over Gardner's rumbling, SansAmp-ish bass tone. The vocals, split between Gardner and guitarist Brian Shuey, are appropriately abrasive and biting to match the ass-kicking qualities of the band. Shuey's higher-pitched croon is the perfect counterpart to Gardner's big, soulful growl. The guitars are big, real big -- as they should be, but are even better than previous Selby Tiger efforts.

"You tear me up" is currently my favorite track off the disc, full of all-out bombast and a catchy bass-then-guitar interplay. Shuey yells over Gardner's don't-worry-about-it-baby-I'm-gonna-rock-your-face-attitude and fills in the gaps with distorted taunts and exclamations -- I can readily imagine Gardner pointing at me as he belts the song's anthem (a quick cut to double-time while he sings "You tear me up"), fantastic pencil-thin moustache and all.

The one true failing of the record, however, is its length -- only eight songs, each clocking in at about two minutes. But, I guess that really isn't a bad thing, yet.

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