CD Review of Music for an Accelerated Culture by Hadouken!
Recommended if you like
DIOYY, The Prodigy, Linkin Park, Innerpartysystem
Label
Atlantic Records
Hadouken!:
Music for an
Accelerated Culture

Reviewed by James B. Eldred

()

i
s Hadouken!’s first LP, but they’ve been busting out singles, EPs, mixtapes and USB sticks at a breakneck rate since early 2007. They’re PR/marketing machines, with a really nifty MySpace page and website, complete with a pay-to-access fanclub section, which they launched long before this album came out. They created their own label, want to plan their own festival and don’t seem resistant to selling themselves to the highest bidder, as they appeared at a “virtual festival” in Second Life a few months ago.

Their distribution/marketing system might not be entirely innovative, but it is definitely ahead of the curve, and in a time when it’s damn near impossible for a new band to get any notoriety/money, they deserve at least some respect for finding a way to do so. Don’t extend that respect to their music, however – it gleefully coasts on the cusp of what’s fresh and new, grabbing bits and pieces from other movements and trends without ever trying anything new. Everything about Hadouken! reeks of fabrication and pandering, right down to the genre they’ve been associated with, a British media creation called “Grindie” which is a portmanteau of “grime” and “indie.” Grime is in and of itself a hodgepodge of musical genres, combining reggae dancehall, hip-hop and traditional house music. Indie Grime (“Grindie”) is a really fancy/stupid way of categorizing grime acts who are trying to reach out into the mainstream by packaging their act in the conventions of an indie rock band. In my day, we just called that selling out, and didn’t try to create a new subgenre to accommodate the bands that were doing the selling.

In case you couldn’t tell from their name (Hadouken!! is a special move from “Street Fighter II”) these grimey little limeys like video games. It’s also evident in their music, as Hadouken! readily appropriates the emerging chiptune scene into its sound. Songs like the incredibly appropriately titled “Game Over” throw some old-school video game sounds into the background, but the effect is barely noticeable, since the hardcore house beats and keyboards are cranked up to 11. “Leap of Faith” incorporates the bleeping 8-bit sound better, but the preaching “oh my god suicide is soooo lame” lyrics annoy the catchiness of the Nintendo-influenced melodies right out of you.

The strongest track on Music for an Accelerated Culture is “That Boy That Girl,” which was the very first single Hadouken! released back in the beginning of 2007. It’s not that rare for a band to peak with its first LP, but it’s particularly sad when a band peaks with its first 12’’ single. “That Boy That Girl” (of no relation to “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” or “Hey Girl, Hey Boy”) is a funny rant against indie kids invading the grime scene (damn, that’s some good irony considering the source), but unless you live in London and actually are part of the grime scene it probably won’t mean jack to you unless you already know what terms like “Hoxton hero,” “screwface,” “merk me” and “dirty like skettle” mean without having to visit Urban Dictionary. Still, lines like “That girl’s an Indie Cindy...I don’t care if she think she’s indie / How she’s different is anyone’s guess,” and references to cool MySpace pages should be funny to anyone sick of indie kids no matter which side of the Atlantic they’re on.

Hadouken! try pathetically to recapture “That Girl That Boy” lightning with “Crank It Up.” Another comment on the indie kids, this one deplores them to “rip the tune off the compact disc and drag-drop into your favorites playlist” before namedropping iTunes, MSN and bluetooth. Using computers to create music can be cool, creating music about computers rarely is.

But no doubt some kids in the London club scene will think it’s cool, and that’s Hadouken!’s bread and butter. Everyone else will see them as a paint-by-numbers knock-off act, incorporating elements of Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Crystal Castles, Pendulum and whomever else NME is raving about this week in order to ride the wave of their popularity. If you think the Prodigy is too smart for you, then Hadouken! is right up your alley.

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