Released on June 12, 2020 (Frontiers Music Srl)
How important is a great singer to a band? I shouldn’t even have to ask such a question. Most hard rock / heavy metal bands that “made it” over the last few decades had a great lead vocalist at least for a certain period of time (for example, Don Dokken in Dokken whose once amazing voice has suffered greatly over the years) or at least one with a distinctive voice (for example, Ratt‘s Stephen Pearcy). There is no doubt that a great singer can make or break a band. I, for one, purchase albums sometimes simply on the strength of the lead vocalist. That was the case for Electric Mob‘s debut full-length album Discharge, which was released two months ago via Frontiers Music Srl. There was a certain amount of hype leading up to Electric Mob‘s debut full-length record based on their singer Renan Zonta‘s apparent amazing voice. Although I knew about Electric Mob back in October 2019, it wasn’t until I heard their single “Devil You Know” that I knew that I’d be purchasing their new album Discharge based on Zonta‘s vocals that covered a lot of ground on that single.
Truth be told, I wasn’t super crazy about the single “Devil You Know” as a whole but I did really enjoy the chorus for that song and was curious to see what Zonta could do over the course of an entire album. With high hopes comes high expectations and I can say that Zonta pretty much met what I expected from him. What I wasn’t expecting was the wide range of styles and influences that can be found on Electric Mob‘s debut full-length album Discharge. In a way, it reminds me of Living Colour‘s spectacular but very diverse debut album Vivid, which covered a lot, and I mean a lot, of ground musically. But the one thing that kept everything together so nicely on Vivid was lead vocalist Corey Glover‘s incredible vocals. That’s pretty much the same thing for Electric Mob‘s Discharge with Zonta carrying the day for the first half of the record while the band introduces a lot of different styles and influences. However, unlike Living Colour‘s Vivid, Electric Mob‘s Discharge really tails off during its second half.
Discharge starts off rather slowly with a barely audible opening track titled “Awaken” that seems to continue during the opening of the standout “Devil You Know” before that latter song really picks up. The one thing about the tracks on Discharge is that there can sometimes be quite a bit going on during the songs including different styles thrown in so you might not appreciate the brilliance of the tracks based on a first listen. It’s simply not the type of album that you can digest in one listen such as let’s say an AC/DC album. Frontiers Music Srl‘s press release when it signed the Brazilian rockers explains why there are so many different styles since all the Electric Mob band members, who are all in their 20s, seemingly have different influences with Zonta influenced by ’70s music, guitarist Ben Hur Auwarten by ’80s music, and the rhythm section of bassist Yuri Elero and drummer André Leister influenced by ’90s stuff.
Getting back to the songs, “King’s Ale” has a really funky like feel to it during the verses yet really rocks by the time that the chorus arrives. Guitarist Ben Hur Auwarter delivers some memorable guitar solos for both “Devil You Know” and “King’s Ale.” “Got Me Runnin'” starts off a little slow but is actually one of the best flowing songs on the album. “Far Off” is one of the fastest rocking songs on Discharge although there is of course a slower part to it because that’s just the way Electric Mob roll. I do like the build up with Zonta‘s vocals during the verses where it feels like you’re climbing a mountain until he gets to the top. “Your Ghost” is the ballad on the album. It starts off quite slowly for the first minute and twenty seconds but it does have some great melodies punctuated by Zonta‘s solid singing as it moves forward from then on.
Unfortunately, the songs on side two of Discharge are quite a bit weaker than the ones on side one. “Gypsy Touch” is a forgettable tune which seems to incorporate more ’90s influences than anything else including a lack of melodies. “Burn” is another forgettable track with only a decent chorus. The rest of the track plods along. If all the songs were like this one, the record would get a failing grade. Thankfully, Electric Mob get back to some more rocking ways with “Upside Down” which has some pretty intense parts at times. “Higher Than Your Heels” displays a wide range of influences including some blues and funk while incorporating some horns during certain sections. It’s actually one of my favourites on Discharge despite not rocking that hard. “Brand New Rope” feels like filler material and like a bad ’90s era track. “We Are Wrong” isn’t bad. It’s kind of a slower paced but at least has a decent flow to it.
Overall, Zonta delivers a great vocal performance on Discharge but he doesn’t always have the songs to really showcase just how good he can sing. Discharge is a bit of a hit and miss affair. The first side or first six songs are much stronger than the rest of what is offered on the album. It’s a shame that Electric Mob elected to have 12 songs on Discharge. I think that had Electric Mob simply released the first five songs (while skipping the unnecessary intro track “Awaken”) along with “Higher Than Your Heels”, they would have had a really good record but instead Discharge is watered down with some subpar tracks towards the end. The bottom line is that Electric Mob need to work on their songwriting as they have the potential and talent to come up with an exceptional album but they need better overall songs to do so.
02. Devil You Know
03. King’s Ale
04. Got Me Runnin’
05. Far Off
06. Your Ghost
07. Gypsy Touch
08. 123 Burn
09. Upside Down
10. Higher Than Your Heels
11. Brand New Rope
12. We Are Wrong
Renan Zonta – vocals
Yuri Elero – bass
Ben Hur Auwarter – guitars
André Leister – drums
Carline Luup – backing vocals (2)
Gisele Albertoni – backing vocals (2)
Val Andrade – backing vocals (2)
Laura Ribeiro – horns (10)
Eduardo “Du” Tonini – piano (12)
Amadeus De Marchi – all other keys and weird noises
Produced and engineered by Amadeus De Marchi
Digital editing by Amadeus De Marchi and Mozart Gil
Mixed and mastered by Vincius Braganholo
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, August 2020
Electric Mob‘s “Devil You Know” video:
Electric Mob‘s “Far Off” video:
Electric Mob‘s “Upside Down” video:
Electric Mob‘s “King’s Ale” single: