“I'm your vehicle baby
I'll take you anywhere you want to go.”
- Vehicle, Ides of March
“Skintight & Solid Gold,” the first full-length album by Houston’s Electric Attitude is a lush, cinematic joyride through the hungry city streets - streets hungry for music which isn’t always easy to find in the usual places.
Will work for music
The search is worth it though. Once you’ve developed an Electric Attitude, it takes hold and gets inside you. It leaves a mark and stays there coursing through you and waking up parts of your body you didn’t know had life. To make a cinematic comparison, think of the scene from the movie “The Jerk,” when the rhythmically challenged title character, Navin Johnson notices his foot moving independently to the beat of ambient music playing in another room as he lies in bed. Navin finds the rhythm within him he didn’t know he had, and it opens his eyes to the endless possibilities in the world yet to be discovered. It’s played for comedic effect in the film. However, when you listen to “Skintight & Solid Gold,” you and your body will have a similar, yet serious and more profound awakening. If you haven’t found the music of Electric Attitude, don’t worry. As with Navin Johnson, it will find you.
“Skintight & Solid Gold,” is a 1970 Cadillac Eldorado pushing 400 horsepower of soul, funk, disco and rock and roll.
You need a lift
The Eldorado is careening around the curves and slinking seductively up and down the city blocks with its horns wailing out its siren song to anyone in its path. These are real horns serenading the night - the kind of horns (Chicago Transit Authority and Ides of March) that ruled rock and roll in the days before computer generated, performance enhancing technology stole their thunder and took their soul. “Skintight & Solid Gold” has recaptured that thunder, and makes a strong argument for requiring horns in music just as they're required in cars.
Packed into the Eldorado as it whips through the city streets are Blake Shepard (vocals, rhythm and lead guitar), Kwesi Sackey (bass guitar and vocals), Mikol Hatter (drums and percussion), Jordan Bell (rhythm and lead guitar), James Murphy (alto, tenor, baritone saxophone, electronic wind instrument [EWI]), Matthew Hartnett (trombone/keys) and Stephen Forse (trumpet). Don’t walk away, there’s room for more.
Climb in and come along for the ride toward your own musical awakening.
The speedometer needle of the Eldorado dances dangerously between swagger and strut, occasionally easing back to chill, if only briefly, to maneuver the delicate curves and give you a chance to catch your breath and brace yourself before gunning it for the rest of the ride.
The ride begins with the smooth and easy, yet energetic funk-infused acceleration of “No One Else.” It’s reminiscent of classic '70s cop show themes like Baretta and Starsky & Hutch, and it sets the stage for this joyride through the city streets. You make a quick turn and head straight into “Trouble,” a sultry, swaggering confessional tune about having a weakness, (or a preference) for finding trouble. It’s a shameless, soulful admission (or a boast) with Shepard adding just the right amount of primal grunts and groans for emphasis. “Trouble” would make even Mick Jagger envious (or proud).
You take an abrupt turn as the Eldorado gains speed and unleashes the power under its hood with “Godzilla.” It rattles the ground, shakes your bones and unleashes a funk, disco, rock and roll fire on the town. If “Godzilla,” like an attack by the radiation-enhanced cinematic creature doesn’t stir you into a frenzy of movement and send your body into a furious groove, even if you are “Navin by nature,” then you caught a ride in the wrong car. That’s alright though. The Eldorado slows down briefly as you get to “Planet X,” where you can take a breather and find your bearings. “Planet X” is a smooth space age interlude with Sackey on bass, and Murphy on the EWI. It’s a much needed cool down before the Eldorado heats up the streets again and drives into “Night Life,” a funky, horn blaring (Murphy, Hartnett, and Forse) trip through the city at night as you revel in its seductive, carnival like charm. You pick up a little more speed with “Don’t Walk Away,” a flurry of drums, (Hatter) guitar, (Bell), bass and horns explode into an anguished, tormented plea (Shepard) for just a little more time with the current object of his affection.
The Eldorado eases off the gas and keeping with the vehicle metaphor, it coasts into the slow jam “Hit and Run,” a journey through the complications of unrequited love. You ease back a bit more for the quick, funky instrumental groove, “Scarlet Harlot.” It’s a welcome break to take your mind off the tale of love gone wrong you just drove through and an essential moment before hitting the gas and steering head on into “Manic,” a frantic, necessary catharsis from the pent-up energy that has built up to this point of the joyride.
The Eldorado pushes even harder as it arrives at “Fierce” in a blaze of horns, questioning your commitment and dedication to the ride and all it entails, whether the ride be a relationship, life, or your love for music, it demands the ultimate answer to “How fierce is your heart?”
You arrive at your final destination with “On My Mind,” as horns bellow out in the night about the inner turmoil and pain of saying goodbye to a lover, or in the case of this ride, to “Skintight & Solid Gold.”
Even if you say goodbye to “Skintight & Solid Gold” for now, it will remain on your mind, in your soul and on your music player of choice for a long time to come.
The Cadillac Eldorado known as “Skintight & Solid Gold” is always gassed up and ready to roll. Whenever the mood strikes you, hop in, turn the music on, turn it up loud, and lay on the horn as you tear through those hungry streets to set the city on fire.
Electric Attitude will be playing live at the Yes Indeed Music Festival on September 14. Come ready to move and groove, exorcise and exercise your own personal Navin Johnson demons. A live Electric Attitude show is a souped-up, super charged Eldorado joyride you’ll never forget. Your mileage may vary, but there’s no doubt you’ll let loose and enjoy yourself very much.
*Electric Attitude Fun Fact: The CD title “Skintight & Solid Gold" was inspired by fellow singer and musician St. Clair from the Houston band The Journey Agents. After seeing an Electric Attitude live show, St. Clair told the band their performance was “skintight and solid gold." Electric Attitude thought it had an awesome sound so they kept it in mind, and it became the title of their first full-length CD.
Enjoy this article? Receive e-mail alerts when new articles are available. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.