Album review: Electric Century – Electric Century

My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way goes back to the future on excellent second album…

Album review: Electric Century – Electric Century
James Hickie

The roadmap to easing lockdown is reason for cautious optimism for most, though it’s got My Chemical Romance fans on edge, eager to know whether their heroes’ comeback shows, scheduled for almost exactly the same time life is due to return to normal, will go ahead. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, of course, but in the meantime, fans have several reasons to be excited about Electric Century’s self-titled second album, which features Mikey Way, is produced by Ray Toro, and accompanied by a graphic novel.

An overarching concept is catnip to the MCRmy, and Electric Century has an interesting one. On record and on the page, it tells the story of the washed up actor, Johnny Ashford, whose drink-driving arrest leads to an appointment with a hypnotherapist, whose treatment sends Johnny back to the Atlantic City of the 1980s. So far, so bananas. But whatever your thoughts on the story, there’s no denying the music – big, bold new wave anthems – fits it perfectly.

Johnny becomes addicted to the pull of this nostalgic world, meaning it needs a suitably intoxicating soundtrack, which it has in the likes of Till We’re Gone and Adeline. These 11 songs really pull you in, too, but unlike other bands that soup up their sound with ’80s accoutrements, Electric Century genuinely sounds like a time capsule from a bygone era, whether in its vibrant, pulsing instrumentals, or singer David Debiak’s voice, which is robotic, though more Max Headroom than The Terminator.

While the Electric Century graphic novel may simply prove to be a collectible piece of ephemera, there’s a grandiosity in Mikey and David’s songwriting that rewards repeat listens to Electric Century the album. In addition, Voices and Let Me In have a formal, stagey quality, which leaves you wondering whether a stage musical version might be a possibility. There’s certainly than enough in these tunes, and the world of neon lights and thrumming arcade machines it conjures, to suggest that would be a good idea – and make for a great night out.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, iDKHOW

Electric Century is out now along with an original graphic novel published by Z2 Comics

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