Album review: Hadouken! - For The Masses (Surface Noise)
The death throes of the new rave party are far from pretty...
They weren’t joking. Who knew? When they climaxed early single ‘[b]Liquid Lives[/b]’ with the refrain “[b]Drink! Smoke! Fuck! Fight![/b]”, everyone imagined [a]Hadouken![/a] were doing so with a certain smirk. Wasn’t this an example of the wryness underpinning their take on teen life? Uh… no. The span of their ambition was best summarised by
the Douglas Coupland-copped title of their debut: ‘[b]Music For An Accelerated Culture[/b]’. They wanted nothing less
than to define a new generation, and would stop at no bombastic cliché or moralising hectoring in pursuit of that.
With ‘[b]For The Masses[/b]’ our worst fears are confirmed by the track titles: ‘[b]Ugly[/b]’, ‘[b]Lost[/b]’, ‘[b]Evil[/b]’ – vague, big-concept words that remind us to set faces to po. Of course, ‘grindie’ has long fallen off the zeitgeist radar, and the fluoro H! T-shirts of 2007 don’t fit their fans any more, so why should they care about this return?
Fortunately for him, the other side of James Smith’s personality – the one in thrall to [a]The Prodigy[/a]/[a]Pendulum[/a] – is presently enjoying a comeback. So he’s hooked up with Dutch drum’n’bass producers [b]NOISIA[/b] to make an educationally subnormal ‘[b]Music For The Jilted Generation[/b]’ in an emotronica fright wig. It is of course consumed with its own importance. Within a minute of opener ‘[b]Rebirth[/b]’ we have our first choir. ‘[b]Turn The Lights Out[/b]’ advises us to “Make way for the ultraviolet teenage riot” and ‘[b]Evil[/b]’ offers such big-picture insights as “We’re just people/we’re just persons living our life in a circle”.
Smith has evolved into the sort of lyricist who’s been set upon this earth to make [b]Liam Gallagher[/b] look like he regularly does odes to Grecian urns. “Tell that to my face boy, I’m gonna fuck your face up” he spits on ‘[b]Ugly[/b]’, before offering the immortal, “It’s getting ugly – ugly like your sister”. Just when you think they’ve already smithereened the silly barrier, what the world needs most swiftly turns up: [a]Hadouken![/a] go Auto-Tune (‘[b]Lost[/b]’). The thinner the idea, the more Smith demands it be sung in a sub-[a]Linkin Park[/a] over-emotive style, as though he’s in the throes of an aneurysm. By the end of ‘[b]For The Masses[/b]’ you might well be wishing one on yourself just for sweet relief.
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Click here to get your copy of Hadouken!’s ‘For The Masses’ from the Rough Trade shop.