BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Since one of my guitar heroes, Ray “Sonic” Hanson (Thee Hypnotics, etc.) is featured on four of its tracks, I was immediately fascinated by The ElectraJets‘ new album. With a sinister, lo-fi haze, the record is the perfect soundtrack for the dirty boulevard especially now that it’s cold and sooty outside, and the streets are filled with cunts with long faces!
“4 a.m. Strangeways” is a gritty opener that will have you stomping your feet and wondering if its 1979 all over again. “Darkness,” the only track on the album written solely by bassist Cynthia Ross (sounding like Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde), is a poetic gem and could have easily fit in the carny scene from the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire. “Suicide Spaceship” will satisfy ardent Thee Hypnotics fans, with Ray’s crazed wah-howl splattered all over the proceedings. On “Happy Smack” Jeff Ward’s guitar playing reaches new levels of greatness; this, melded together with his drug-addled vocals, made the song an unsettling affair.
Nestled between track 11 and 13 is a number called “Sarah’s Truth” that’s credited to Sarah Amina, which stuns with its throbbing sonics and haunting lyrics. So, what makes this record so compelling? Would we want a closer look even if Ray Hanson wasn’t involved? I’d say the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ While I can understand why they wanted Ray to play on the album, Jeff Ward is really the one who makes this record tick. The album has a specific swagger that would’ve been well-received, even if the songs weren’t half as interesting. Sadly, I hear this may be the final ElectraJets album, and if that’s the case, then they go out with their heads hanging high.
TRACKS TO TRACK DOWN: “4 a.m. Strangeways,” “Suicide Spaceship,” “Darkness,” “Happy Smack,” “Sarah’s Truth”