Lion Music
Release date: July 21, 2006

User Review
7/10 (2 votes)

The bio for the group Electric Outlet isn’t overly pompous or extremely lengthy. The band members themselves look professional, clean, serious, and swanky (see the band’s photo shoot at the end of this review). The band’s name itself inspires thoughts of power, energy, and getting your hair “curled” if you stick a finger into one. The action nouns “power” and “energy” are the best descriptions of this band’s music, and this exceptional release simply entitled ON!.

First, what you should know about the band … Electric Outlet is an instrumental quartet featuring four well-renowned studio and live musicians in Pop and Rock. While all are accomplished musicians in their native countries and abound, guitarist Marcus Deml seems to have toured with and done studio work for bands that are more recognizable to fans of Metal Express Radio, including Saga, Michael Sadler, Bobby Kimball, and Kingdom Come (to name a few).

Normally, musical genres such as “Rock Fusion,” “Rock Jazz,” and “Jazz” in general would have Metal Express Radio fans screaming into the night. Let the diverse music fan be reminded, though, of memorable classics by Jeff Beck such as Blow By Blow and Wired. It’s that type of quality music, updated for the current century, of course, which this Electric Outlet release brings to the table. ON! contains some powerful, tight, high voltage music. Hopefully, listeners can get past any initial impetuous reaction to the adjective “Jazzy” and give this release a deserved chance.

Right off the bat, you’ll find out that this band doesn’t take their music exceedingly serious when they interject a bit of fun with a John Goodman quote from the movie The Big Lebowski. The up-tempo “Comprendes” track starts off the release, topping off at nearly nine minutes in length. The track has a great bass line, fantastic drumming, and a Deml guitar tone with plenty of bite … very similar to Satriani’s tone at times. This track just dances with visions of bassist Frank Itt (whose stature is akin to some other great bass players such as the Ian Gillan Band’s John McCoy and Al DiMeola/Mike Stern bassist Anthony Jackson) “bobbing” around stage.

“Propellerhead” starts off with some impressive Deml guitar that has a familiar Satriani bite, groove, and feel. This is another up-tempo Rocker with another impressive rhythm section offering from Itt and drummer Ralf Gustke. This one does slow up slightly in the middle with what might be called a “Lounge Lizard” moment. These so-called “moments” are typically low key and are characterized by complex Aeschbacher keyboard fills that sometimes sound like piano, Hammond organ, etc. (think Murph And The Magic Tones at the Holiday Inn, a scene from The Blues Brothers movie). There are a few such moments like this throughout this disc, which might turn off some less diverse and impatient listeners.

While all four musicians are very accomplished and deserve a standing ovation, the standout performance is by drummer Ralf Gustke who turns in a Dave Weckl (serious Funk/Fusion fans know who this is) or Neil Peart-like performance on this disc. The production just allows his drums, especially the snare, to jump right out of the mix. His drumming on cuts such as the aforementioned “Comprendes,” “We Need A Plan,” and especially the slightly Funk-based, phenomenal “Tekky,” is just awe-inspiring. These guys just have to be amazing in a live setting when they’re playing such quality music.

Bottom line, if you’re a serious “Rock Fusion” or “Jazz Rock” fan, then this one is a must buy! Seems like quite a stretch and gamble for the Lion Music label, which is best known for quality Progressive and Neo-Classical/Fusion Guitar instrumental releases. But, this one certainly ranks as being top notch and these four musicians are definitely “On” on this high voltage release. Those into this musical genre can only hope that Electric Outlet can follow up with several more quality offerings! Hats off to Electric Outlet!


Marcus Deml – Guitars
Tom Aeschbacher – Keyboards
Frank Itt – Bass
Ralf Gustke – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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