On their third studio album, genre-bending shapeshifter Dorian Electra revels in their own rebirth – and commands you do the same.
When the star debuted in full on 2019 record Flamboyant, they played a smirking opponent to masculinity, from the towering office blocks of ‘Career Boy’ into the grotty car parks of ‘Man to Man’. A year later, on sophomore record My Agenda, they slipped behind the keyboard to mock the alt-right’s fear of a ‘gay agenda’.
Those albums catapulted Dorian Electra into the limelight and over the past three years, the 31-year-old has sold out shows across the globe and climbed up festival line-ups. Hyper-aware of their surroundings, the past three years of stardom are transformed into their majestic third album Fanfare.
The 41-minute rip-roaring affair is dripping with production and, on first listen, sails by in a whirlwind of trademark clangs and mawkish hooks – it’s just all very Dorian Electra. But the 13 tracks are all delivered with a seductive wink, an invitation to listen again and step behind the curtain of fame.
It takes Electra’s playful vocals seconds to arrive into Fanfare over a chorus of trumpets on ‘Symphony’. The track kickstarts the album with the three-word demand you ‘give me everything’. As the flick whirrs into life, they go on to call for everything from baritones to saxophones as an orchestra sounds in the background – what the pop star wants, they get.
That mantra is the very heart of Fanfare as Electra analyses the walls of stardom that have risen around them. On ‘Sodom & Gomorrah’ they turn the cities of sin into a frivolous sexual theme park and ‘Manmade Horrors’ sees Electra marvel at humankind’s ability to monetise tragedy.
Other moments are more introspective as the singer pitches up their celebrity status by tenfold. The brilliant ‘Phonies’ sees them channel Holden Caulfield to slam society for not yet awarding them a TONY over a thumping Weston Allen and Raziel production.
The record is at its very strongest when the star looks through the lens of fame as a sexual object to be desired. Electa becomes a dominatrix as their lewd commands to ‘put it up me like puppet’ dance over Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise’ and on the grungy ‘Freak Mode’ the singer has fans’ mouths drooling over a seductive buttering of toast.
The crème de la crème on Fanfare comes in ‘Idolize’ as Electra invites the listener to fantasize over their boudoir in an amped-up electropop hit destined for new hights in a live show.
Perhaps the greatest irony of all on Fanfare is that in casting a mocking eye over stardom, Dorian Electra has produced their body of work the most worthy of worship yet. We bow down to one of pop’s greatest disruptors.
Rating – 5/5
Dorian Electra will take Fanfare on a World Tour next year, starting in Europe and the UK in January. The full list of dates and ticket information can be found on the star’s official website.