- Audio CD (May 6 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Matador
- ASIN: B00008NGLS
- In-Print Editions: LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
Perhaps this was just another instance of theme-and-variations. Or perhaps these are the tentative stanzas of passive-aggressive Christian rockers, albeit with a real sense of music. The case was closed for me when I found the band pulled its name from a comment Jimmy Swaggart once made about music.
Enough said. The fact remains that the lines are ambiguous, I am absolutely reading into them, and the album's origins and purposes remain ambiguous. But the work does suffer from the association, if only because certain ideologies don't lend themselves well to music, and the lyrics give us enough fuel to feel there's more than one purpose at hand: they're painting a self-conscious ideological backdrop. It's like singing a partial hypothesis; concept rips the soul out of the song if it isn't in cohoots with the emotions, and it stops being that cathartic trip it's meant to be. This also goes, by the way, for Billy Bragg and 10,000 Maniacs singing about war and child abuse. It's the wrong medium for shaking the finger or laying out a game plan.
That said, the worst of the album comes when the partly-veiled, pseudo-Christian themes, cavorting around in a major key, hold you captive to a band of wistful utopians tentatively pleading with the world, under the table, to make a certain brand of nice. The flip side is that candy-colored ride into the sunset. The two images are on a see-saw when you listen, and you'll get both unless you insist the lyrical confusion be lost in the keyboards. It's not that hard.
Hands down, Electric Version is fantastic, sunny, dirty, power-pop, and it's worth that see-saw just to taste that mouthful of Skittles. But c'mon you Canadians, just play us some music! Do something else to make us good--