XL Recordings - 2003 - 38 minutes

Novelty singles are rarely followed by quality albums - it's one of the original rock'n'roll rules of thumb.

Electric Six hit the big time when the infectious disco-rock of 'Danger! High Voltage' broke into the top ten, but they seemed unlikely to produce anything else that could match up. Then 'Gay Bar', the second single off 'Fire', came close to the high-octane groove of its predecessor, helped by multiple Abraham Lincolns in a spectacularly silly video (believe me, you have to see it).

With some very well-received live shows under their belts, Electric Six are now in that difficult position - not funny enough to be comedians, too silly to be a real rock'n'roll band. Or maybe that's too negative. It's equally true to say that they are too good to be a novelty act, and not po-faced enough to be one of the recent wave of retro-Americana rockers.

'Fire' kicks off with 'Dance Commander' and its standard sub-Pixies/Nirvanaesque riffing. But Electric Six reveal their secret weapon early on, when the bridge goes all electro. Disco-rock monsters on the starboard bow!

This mix of faux-metal and camp disco is the Electric Six sound, though they occasionally restrict themselves to their geetars, with 'Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)' being a hilarious and hard-rockin' highlight.

This heady musical mixture is accompanied by some of the stupidest lyrics in living memory, "Improper dancing in the middle of the street", "Girl, I wanna take you to a gay bar, gay bar, gay bar", "Nuclear war on the dancefloor, you're a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty,girl". You get the idea.

At times the music is so Pixiesesque that it treads too close to outright sampling ('Getting Into The Jam', in particular). But the whole concoction is so headily enjoyable, so ludicrously exhilarating that it's impossible not to be charmed.

Disposable in the best possible way, 'Fire' is a perfect antidote to the black-clad sulky rock hordes that are crowding the record shops this summer. And the last track could even be a Eurovision entry. Electric Six rock!

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Dance Commander - Electric Demons In Love - Naked Pictures Of Your Mother - Danger! High Voltage - She's White - I Invented The Night - Improper Dancing - Gay Bar - Nuclear War - Getting Into The Jam - Vengeance & Fashion - I'm The Bomb - Synthesizer