We don't do anything normally, here in Portland, Or. There is no cohesive style, fashion or trend, regardless of what anyone tells you. We're a city of iconoclasts, bending and smudging genres and rules at whim, which is pretty much as punk rock as it comes. Except in Portland, punks might be wearing overalls and plucking banjos, or in the case of the one-man-punk-band Electrical Fire, layering crunching metal riffs over programmed drum tracks and skewed, abrasive post-punk.
Ironically, this sounds more in line with high-end metal/punk than Electrical Fire's anti-art opus would have believe.
"The idea is to create anti-art since the music culture is currently obsessed with in my opinion high brow new age art," writes Electrical Fire, in the press release for HAPPY. True, you're not likely to hear these short, brutal, muffled atonal blasts scoring the next Kanye West fashion runway, but perhaps they should, as Electrical Fire's lo-fi rawk is like Alexander McQueen's trash bag apocalypticism, brought to snarling life.
"Mind Is" kicks things off with a squalling guitar riff and mid-fi vocals, as shouted through some demented carnival barker's bullet microphone. On "Some Things" the guitars spiral, loose and knotted as a thorny whip, building to a cacophony of shredded nerves and pummeling breakdowns. "We Want You To Be Happy" features crushing, brutal post-hardcore riffs and a whirlwind of hard-hitting drumming. The momentum ratchets up a notch on "Yung" and unleashes like the bruised sky before a hurricane on "YEAH!" "Friends" closes things out with snarling guitar riffs and distorted, maniacal vocals, speaking in a language of paranoia and frayed nerves.
In short, HAPPY by Electrical Fire, is punker than punk, more metallic than mainstream metal, and, again ironically, more artistic than a lot of what you'll find hanging on mid-range art galleries, during your average First Thursday outing.
Electrical Fire reminds us to never judge a book by its cover, nor judge a city based on its persona. There is more than hippies and kombucha bars in Portland. There's also a vibrant, weird underground, if you can find it. Start digging with Electrical Fire and rediscover what pure primal fury can sound like
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