When Electric Red came under my radar in early 2009 with a three track demo, “Ion” claiming to have recorded it themselves and to only have been a going concern as a band for 6 months I thought they were basically bullshitting to big themselves up. How wrong I was. It turns out they were really just that awesome!!! In the intervening 18 months the band have been collaborating with awesome Belgian label Buzzville and are ready to unleash their debut album.
Picking up very much where the demo left off, and reprising the three tracks here, “In This Machine” is business as usual for Electric Red but does show a marked progression and improvement…if that’s possible. The opening title track shows how the band has matured as layered textural guitars give way to some truly monolithic riffing. Structurally they have an innate grasp on dynamics as tempos shit from a balls out rockathon to a big boned groove. I did previously have some misgivings about the vocals and, although they still come across as a thuggish bellow they’re delivered with far greater conviction and power than before and tempered with a greater sense of melody as cleaner vocals weaves in and out of the bullish roar. This is particularly evident on “Threads” where the melodies show a deft grasp of harmony and depth that the demo didn’t quite offer.
Musically Electric Red still pull from a broad range of musical styles to create their impressive wall of crunch. The early 90’s New York post-hardcore sound of Quicksand and Helmet is still a prime jumping off point as off beat rhythms play alongside big slabs of distorted guitar but it’s also possible to detect the more textural elements of bands such as Mastodon or Baroness mixed up with the pummelling stoner pop of Torche. The band also claim influence from bands such as Kyuss and Clutch which may be less evident but does manifest itself in the huge grooves they find themselves falling into.
If I was impressed with the production on their demo then that is doubled here. I defy any of you to go through your entire collection and pull out an album to which this doesn’t compare sonically. The guitars possess an impressive bite and depth underpinned by a crystal clear, yet well rounded bass. The drums sound like a legion of Zulus preparing to attack and the vocals, as I’ve already mentioned sit perfectly in the melee of rifferama that surrounds them. It goes to show that, Abbey Road or a front room…it really doesn’t matter as long as you know what you’re doing. These bands who spend 6 months in the studio as the label spunks £1,000 a day on fees and still turn out a turgid sack of shit should spend 5 minutes in the company of Electric Red to get a lesson in how to do things right.
It has to be said there are an increasing number of bands appearing in this style, spearheaded by bands such as Taint with whom Electric Red share a few similarities, but few of them show such a strong grasp of dynamics, song writing suss and the sheer quality that Electric Red do. Hopefully Buzzville will get behind them and help them to break out of the confines of Ireland to bring their impressive noise to a wider audience.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall