Electric Century AKA Mikey Way and David Debiak have released their self-titled sophomore record. Electric Century takes us on a journey through 11 tracks of sublime retro 80’s inspired music. The album is produced by My Chemical Romance’s Ray Toro and is a sequel to the first album, For The Night To Control. It claims to move their sound onto a bigger or more dynamic platform and certainly does that.
The album compliments the graphic novel of the same name written by Mikey Way and Shaun Simon, who recruited artist Toby Cypress to create the world in which it takes place. However, even if you have not read the graphic novel, the album stands up just fine on its own as a creative piece of work.
The album starts up fast-paced with synthy drums at a speed that has a sense of urgency, and you are immediately transported into the ’80s. The track ‘Till We’re Gone’ would be quite at home in a montage sports scene from your favorite old school movie. Next up is ‘Voices’, a true retro-style love song, or at least that’s what it sounds like.
A quick break away from synths for the intro, ‘Alive’ starts out with a simple piano and vocals. They soon make an appearance, though, and this is one to slow dance to at the prom of yesteryear. As the tracks continue one after the other, they feel like they are beginning to merge into one long song. On the first listen, only the silence between each track differentiates them, but on closer inspection and continued play, each song takes on a life of its own.
Just when you think you know where things are going, the track ‘Oh Mary’ takes us down a notch to something altogether more mellow as it begins. With sounds almost celestial circling our heads like a halo. The four-and-a-half-minute song takes us on a journey of its own through a beautiful soundscape.
‘Free To Be OK’ brings us in with a bang with its stark vocals and harsh lyrics, then it suddenly rushes us into an upbeat dancey track quite in contrast to its opening lyrics. It is a song of inspiration reminding us that we are not our mistakes but rather the culmination of what we have learned from them. That we ourselves are “Free to be OK”.
‘Someday We Will Sing’ again brings out the guitar for a sing-along by the campfire perhaps or just a lonesome musician in his room playing with lyrics and his guitar. The lack of synth is an interesting way to end the album with a song so different in sound from everything that came before.
All in all, this is a great album to listen to that grows on you a little more with each play. Perhaps play it in the background whilst you read the graphic novel; after all, it’s bound to take on more meaning when you have experienced both the album and comic. Electic Century the album and graphic novel are released everywhere you would normally buy your comics or records now. There is a special deluxe limited edition version available to pre-order exclusively through Z2 comics.