ELECTRIC BOYS – The Ghost Ward Diaries

I have an imaginary file that I call “Reunited bands that kick their past’s butt”. There’s a few acts in there – Europe, Winger and Stryper to mention a few – but it’s far from being full. Many bands that reunites are really good but few manages to better their glory days. Here’s another such band – the Electric Boys. I have been a big Electric Boys fan ever since I saw singer/lead guitarist Conny Bloom and bass player Andy Christell perform “All Lips And Hips” playback as a duo in 1988 (guitarist Franco Santunione and drummer Niclas Sigevall joined up shortly after) on a Swedish music show and I loved every album back in the day. Electric Boys split up in the mid 90’s clearly affected by the Grunge movement after their 1994 album Freewheelin’ bombed. Except for Bloom, who released a solo album and one album with a new outfit – Titanic Truth, it was deadly quiet from the rest of the band until Conny and Andy showed up in Hanoi Rocks in 2004.

However, the EB reunion wasn’t far away and in 2009 it happened. After a bunch of gigs – I remember them kicking major ass at Sweden Rock – it was time for a new record – …And Them Boys Done Swang (2011) exceeded my expectations and proved that Electric Boys were still relevant and had a lot to offer, something that was more than proved with the follow-up, the majestic Starflight United (2014), in my book their finest release ever. Now four years later it’s time for a follow-up and things have changed some in The EB line-up. Drummer Jolle Atlagic (The Quill, Hanoi Rocks) who helped the band when Los Angeles bound Niclas Sigevall couldn’t make the gigs is now a full-time member which makes EB a two-drummer band. After two brilliant singles earlier this year (“Dishes” and “Suffer”) a new album is now out – with expectations bigger than Mount Everest!

Opener and first single “Hangover In Hanover” is a total blaster, a jawbreaker that is here to hurt you. It’s an AC/DC meets Hanoi Rocks kick-ass rocker with a melody that screams Bloom and Electric Boys. Hook-laden, in-your-face and ballsy, the tune is a hit, in my book. The funk isn’t there but it doesn’t matter – this one should win over any doubter out there. “There She Goes Again” is very direct and distinct, punchy yet with an influence from Melodic Rock and some Beatles influenced melodies. Catchy Classic Rock with Bloom’s personal vocal melodies, the tune is another winner – with big hit-potential. Brilliant. Latest single “You Spark My Heart” is a very melodic rocker with a big Pop vibe, pretty smooth but still raunchy. It knocks on the door of power balladry but it stays outside and the big chorus is so catchy it hurts. If this isn’t a hit, i don’t know what is. Magnificent!

“Love Is A Funny Feeling” is a big-grooved, funk-laden 70’s rocker that holds all the usual EB elements but also with a slight breath of something that The Night Flight Orchestra could have written. This is a classic Electric Boys swinger that could make a paralyzed person dance. “Gone Gone Gone” is a slower, Rolling Stones flavoured rocker that sends a nod towards power balladry but with a big 70’s vibe. Towards the end it puts on a more rough suit but the tune holds on to its big hit-feel. Must be a future single – great. The instrumental “Swampmotofrog”, named after a supposed new trio Bloom talked to drummer Mikkey Dee (King Diamond, Don Dokken, Motörhead, Scorpions) about forming but never happened,  is a Led Zeppelin influenced bad-ass groover that also brings the Groovus Maximus to mind and contains a heavy, Metal-laden middle-break without losing any of the groove or playfulness. Really good.

“First The Money, Then The Honey” holds an enormous groove that mixes pure Hard rock with 70’s American Glam all the way with the classic EB melodies and a killer chorus that sticks right from hello. This tune, friends, is a damn knock-out that will kick some major behind live! “Rich Man, Poor Man” starts out acoustically with a hippie-laden atmosphere but soon turns into a bonafide, classic EB rocker reminiscent of their Groovus Maximus days. With a slide guitar, a Classic Rock twist and an Aerosmith influence, the song is a winner and another future live-killer. Great. “Knocked Out By Tyson” comes in a mid pace but is rocket-fueled with groove and style wise a classic EB funker with a chorus that contains hooks enough to sell. Awesome. Closing track “One Of The Fallen Angels” is a fat, chunky and groovy pop-rocker with both punch and crunch. The whole tune is all hooks and the catchy chorus brings it home. The ending of the song is Hard Rock with both psychedelia and a progressive twist, heavy and dark – and those minutes feels like it’s a song of its own. Killer!

Let’s face it, Electric Boys just can’t do no wrong. This is the third album after the reunion and it’s also the third killer in a row, a monster of an album. Style wise, EB’s vocal melodies and the groovy base is very recognizable but the funk is kept at a minimum here and the band comes across as a classic hard Rock kick-ass band with lots of Aerosmith and some Led Zep influences. As for the drummers, Jolle is on three tracks here, the rest is Sigevall, not that you really notice who plays on what – at least not me. Sonically, producer David Castillo has given them a fat, sweaty, straightforward, knuckles-to-the-bone sound, bare and quite stripped with no unnecessary extra stuff added – and it suits the band very well. I do wonder what happened to “Dishes” and “Suffer”, though, as they’re both great songs but I guess they wandered into a more poppy area and didn’t fit the sound here. It’s a shame though as they’re both awesome. Still, every song here is more or less a killer and it’s time the world woke up and but them into the major league world-wide.

9/10

More Electric Boys reviews:

And Them Boys Done Swang
Starflight United

Tracklist:

1. Hangover In Hanover
2. There She Goes Again
3. You Spark My Heart
4. Love Is A Funny Feeling
5. Gone Gone Gone
6. Swampmotofrog
7. First The Money, Then The Honey
8. Rich Man, Poor Man
9. Knocked Out By Tyson
10. One Of The Fallen Angels

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