Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine is the anti-Bono. Four years and three albums after the Detroit dance-rock outfit dropped its explosive debut, Fire, Valentine still shuns songs about Really Big Subjects, preferring instead to write about getting wasted at McDonald's and how much he hates Lenny Kravitz. On Electric Six's new CD, I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master, Valentine (known to fans as the "Dance Commander") burns through the usual mix of idiots, excess, and bad, bad girls. Like last year's Switzerland, I Shall Exterminate . . . adds some new sounds to the fold: A traditional hootenanny, synth-pop, and laid-back alt-rock mingle with the group's winking disco and faux-bloated arena rock.
Fire and its breakout single "Danger! High Voltage!" show off Electric Six at its peak. But the group's live show remains its specialty. Valentine isn't quite the raving maniac he comes across as on record. Rather, he's a gifted showman who nods to rock's past, when the most obnoxious person at a concert was the singer. He busts some slick stage moves and has even threatened audiences with a cover of the Verve Pipe's dreadful "The Freshman," if enough merchandise isn't sold. So bring some extra cash for a T-shirt or two.