For me, this is one of those releases that you play to death for about three weeks but then hardly ever listen to again.
I guess that's because the album explores themes relating to early adolescence - around the age of say 13 / 14 - and it does that so well that it can be something of a sentimental trip down memory lane, cram-packed with all sorts of little details that for many listeners will resonate at a personal level - at least, until it's time to end the nostalgia trip and move on.
Electric Rock Music
is a somewhat ironic title though, for whilst there's plenty of full-on psychedelic guitar here, all delivered in the true rock tradition, at the same time it's countered by distinctly country-ish slide and pedal-steel work too. The two combined are an unlikely fusion, but one that perfectly complements the persona Chuck Cleaver sets out to create here ... coming across like a gangly good-natured country boy, busy recording the mundane minutiae of life in a small rural town, where there's next-to-nothing for teens to do.
That image is further enhanced by Cleaver's cracked vocals, making him sound like a scruffy hillbilly farmboy with a straw between his teeth, whose voice hasn't quite properly broken yet. All that, combined with the casual-bordering-on-shambolic production and the wry biting lyrics, is what lends this album its unique down-to-earth charm.
There's no filler here, by my reckoning nearly every track rates between 4 and 5 stars, with perhaps only "Wall Eyed Girl" and "Earth to Grandma" being a little below par, mainly because they come across as a little too
shambolic. Otherwise, every song has its own curious and highly memorable melody line, and the oddball lyrical themes capture all the confusions and bizarre preoccupations of early adolesence, from skinny-dipping to BMX riding, from flying saucers and mysterious happenings in the backwoods, through to youthful impressions of a country wedding, or of some crazy weirdo guy who lives in the supermarket carpark.
by Reviewer: bluemoon