How To Make A Monster
On the evidence of their full length debut, Electric Frankenstein is that strange rarity in rock 'n' roll, a band seemingly more influenced by the junk culture of movies and TV than by the music of their forebears. How To Make A Monster is littered with samples of dialogue from horror and B-movie sources (including, oddly enough, Mallrats, if I hear correctly), so that 1950s stiff-backed scientist types interject precautionary statements about things like "the unmistakable smell of female" in odd places between and occasionally during songs. Even the first track, "I Was Modern Prometheus," is nothing more than a pre-horror-movie warning dropped in place of, say, an actual song that would cover the same thing.
That may be because the songs don't say a whole lot anyway, and that's certainly not why you'd listen. Electric Frankenstein specializes in 1970s-style fat-bottomed Les-Paul-through-Marshall-stacks riff-rock of the type that used to come wrapped in sleeves with the words "PLAY LOUD" emblazoned on them (often with more than one exclamation point). Problem is, they neglect to actually provide any riffs, opting instead to pound out power chords almost exclusively; I don't think I heard a single major chord on the album. Every song whizzes by at exactly the same velocity until they blur into one another. It's kind of like what Raw Power would've been like if the first four bars of "Search & Destroy" were repeated ad infinitum. How To Make A Monster shows that Electric Frankenstein have power. Now they just need to find something to plug into. (MH)
(Victory Records -- P.O. Box 146546, Chicago, IL. 60614; http://www.victoryrecords.com/)
Some bands make a career out of writing the same song over and over. (Not always with bad effect, either, to be fair, but usually so.) At the other end of the spectrum is Enon, a band so ludicrously diverse that it's reasonable to ask if they intend to even write two similar songs. Enon features members of Brainiac and Skeleton Key, but further expands the eclecticism of those bands to cut a huge swath of styles, from highly percussive songs with Bobby Conn-esque vocal stylings to analog keyboard insanity to drum machine loop-based songs to organ-drenched midtempo guitar riffs with Spoon-style vocals. There's no question that those with a strongly agnostic musical taste will find many things of interest here, and Enon is certainly a band with greater potential than 98% of the working bands today. But one can't help but wish that they would tighten their focus and dig a little deeper into a narrower style -- such a move might be the challenge that forces them to create some truly memorable songs, instead of merely memorable styles. (DD)
(Seethru Broadcasting -- 3470 19th Street, San Francisco, CA. 94110; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.seethrubroadcasting.com/)