The minute the gates opened, they came over the horizon; thousands of them, kicking up clouds of dust and stampeding into the NME/Radio 1 tent like herds of short-shorted wildebeest. Either every teenager at 2012’s Reading Festival had got the day wrong for Green Day’s secret set or Hadouken! had far transcended their grindie also-ran roots and become a bona fide neo-rave sensation.
Hadouken!’s second album, 2010’s ‘For The Masses’, saw James Smith’s rude electro crew shed their Tekken machine-grime flimsiness and embrace Prodigy whumps, R&B vocals and chart-rave rampages. It proved they could beat their chests alongside the Examples, Tinies and DJ Freshes of the mainstream jungle, and cardboard-boxed its way into the UK Top 20. But ‘Every Weekend’ goes even further. James Smith now raps like an evil Dizzee, sings choruses like he’d hoped they’d eventually be ‘Featuring Drake’ and slathers ‘The Vortex’ and ‘Levitate’ with old-school rave gospel vocals, brostep, trance crescendos and cavernous synth sounds scientifically designed to make cathedrals out of Ibiza superclubs.
A sparking bolt of ball-lightning populism slammed directly into your face? Right this way! But as much as the brittle electro-slowies ‘Bliss Out’ and ‘Spill Your Guts’ could be a dubstep JLS, and ‘Bad Signal’ takes the dance dullard’s route of nabbing its hook from a sample of a pop classic – in this case The Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ – tracks like ‘As One’ and ‘Parasite’ retain a subversive hardcore edge, akin to an emo Prodigy or Pendulum shredding on Dance Dance Revolution. Hence Hadouken! are growing into a real mainstream menace, the sort of thorn in Reggie Yates’ side that Pendulum were too boyband to be, and Enter Shikari too punk.