Electric Frankenstein 2xCD Review [TKO]

Music Reviews
Electric Frankenstein 2xCD Review [TKO]
Mar 30, 2004, 05:45


Electric Frankenstein represents that breed of self-conscious punk rock'n'roll you really, seriously want to love with all your perpetually teenaged heart. They always feature awesome cover pics by the best names in the lowbrow art biz: Just scope their book of “high energy punk rock & roll poster art” for an endless parade of monster-mash cartoon flyers, 7” sleeves, LP covers, etc. They talk a good game, too, embracing the degraded aesthetics of scruffy old sleazepunk. And they love to pimp their historical faves by covering song after three-chord song—10 years' worth of which are compiled on this two-disc set.

Ahh, but yeahhhh… hmmm. It just seems like there's just something lacking here. Despite all their vocal (and visual) proselytizing about “ranting” this and “raging” that, too often EF comes across as slick, pristine and polished. (I saw 'em play a gig once where they cut the show short because they couldn't keep their guitars in nice and shiny tune…I mean, c'mon, I thought they grew 'em tuffer than that in Jersey!) Half these songs sound closer to Cheap Trick and KISS than, say, the Heartbreakers or Pagans. Nothing wrong with that, naturally, unless you want to sound dirty and end up sounding purty instead. Combine that with the stereotypical “we are ROCK with a capital R-O-C-K” cliché of rolling out inevitable and unnecessary pentatonic-minor guitar solos and you end up with fairly generic rock, period.

At least EF knows its historical shit, though. So here's the rundown: Band fanatics who don't already own these cover versions elsewhere can now own Frankensteined takes on the Clash, AC/DC, DRI, X, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Motörhead, Supersuckers, New York Dolls (“Frankenstein,” of course), Naked Raygun, Generation X, The Tubes, Johnny Cash, Blue Oyster Cult, Crime, The Dictators and 15 more. There's even a G'N'R-styled version of Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here,” if you think that sounds like a good idea. Which, after all, is what's always been best about Electric Frankenstein—the idea of it. [TKO]

-J Graham

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