It took me three listens to finally “get” the Atomic Swindlers and “Coming Out Electric” and that had more to do with my state of mind on the first two listens than any deficiencies in the quality of the record. After a glance at all the reviews quoted on the band’s website, the comparison with this CD and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie that most make is certainly appropriate. There is that spaced-out, ethereal vibe that is only enhanced by the singing of April Laragy but this is by no means a knockoff of “Diamond Dogs.” It certainly has its own charms and very distinctive feel as titles such as “Intergalactic Lesbian Love Song” and “Float (My Electric Stargirl)” will attest.
In this day and age of disposal 99 cent singles on iTunes it is nice to find an album that benefits from a listen from beginning to end. Not that this record has some kind of thematic constant running through-out but it seems to drift from dreamy space pop to raunchy glam rock as though your were listening to a truly other-worldly yet very hip radio station. Even the production sounds like early 70s glam and you would swear that you could hear the echoes of Lou Reed and Mick Ronson such does that influence bubble under the surface.
Released in 2004, I suspect that the Swindlers have been slowly but steadily percolating through the musical underground as the dates of a lot of their reviews from 2006 would attest. Be that as it may, this is very cool and raunchy rock and roll with a heavy dollop of sexuality mixed in with those razor-sharp guitar riffs. Different and yet somewhat familiar, the Atomic Swindlers have managed to both evoke an era and stake their claim to their own branch of rock and roll in the early 21st century. And with lines like “I like the way your name feels in my mouth” (from “Sex66” a wonderfully crunchy glam-rock masterpiece) this band aims for the surreal sense-surround sound of a type of rock and roll that is increasingly difficult to find. That they pull it off with such a sense of casual disinterest and yet impeccable production and musical chops is a testament to how good this CD really is. Another one for the Rock and Roll Report Radio play list.