The Electric Chairs

Reviews

The Electric Chairs So Many Ways 12″ reissue

After Jayne County left first-wave punks the ELECTRIC CHAIRS to go solo, half of the band opted to keep the name and released a new single as a pared-down trio in 1979, taking a complete 180 degree turn from the CHAIRS’ early campy, glam-damaged origins—bassist and vocalist Val Haller later would later go on to the FLYING LIZARDS (whose David Cunningham produced this incarnation of the ELECTRIC CHAIRS), and that group’s cut-up avant new wave/art-punk aesthetic almost certainly functioned as a revised point of departure. The A-side of this 12” reissue includes both of the tracks from that 7”, “So Many Ways” and “J’Attends Les Marines,” the latter being a deconstructed and slightly dubbed-out take on “Waiting for the Marines” from the the final County-led ELECTRIC CHAIRS LP Things Your Mother Never Told You (with vocals redone en français, naturally). It’s really all about “So Many Ways,” though—a total melting mutant disco groove of clattering, kinetic percussion, fractured electronic textures, and processed deadpan vocals like the FLYING LIZARDS reinvented as a 99 Records band. Weirdo classic! The two modern remixes of “So Many Ways” added on the B-side are pretty unremarkable (one “edit” that doesn’t radically alter the original, and one much more abstract “rework” that stretches the original to double its length while removing all of its elastic energy in the process), but no one really buys reissues of pricey late ’70s/early ’80s post-punk obscurities for the remixes, y’know?