- For The Masses (Surface Noise)
hacks feel the need to proclaim their love or lay into a
band merely because they want to form an extreme black/white
opinion that they can then spout in a review, feeling it
injects some kind of 'personality' into their prose.
The stark truth
is that the majority of music out there is neither fantastically,
stunningly groundbreaking or so bad that you wish your ears
would heal over. Sadly, most music exists as a shade of
grey on the scale, floating somewhere between below average
and above average. Surely it's a journalist's duty to report
back the truth?
sometimes restraint and reason must be eschewed in a fit
of seething rage. After hearing this latest set from Leeds-born
London-based 'dance-punk' outfit, Hadouken!, feathers need
to be spat. For The Masses is chock-full of cod-Prodigy,
mock-Pendulum 'excitement' that sounds
like a bunch of teenagers screaming at themselves in the
mirror in between squeezing their spots and wondering why
nobody's tweeted them for the past 18 seconds.
awful. Musically it wants to be bigger, tougher and harder
than it really is, like a 10-year-old picking on a four-year-old
in a playground. In reality it's about as hard as a knob
of butter in a blast furnace. Yes, youthful, angst-ridden
exuberance is all very exciting, but ultimately it's a fruitless
hormonal outburst that has all the constructive worth of
clapping at the end of a film in the cinema. Naming individual
tracks and pinpointing their flaws is a foregone luxury
when every track congeals into one amorphous clod of flaky,
Embrace when it comes to expressing heartfelt
emotion, Hadouken! believe they have punk attitude oozing
out of every pore, but really they come across as snotty
adolescents with an emotional range more limited than that
of Paris Hilton. For The Masses puffs its chest up and swings
its fists around in a cartoon style windmill while everyone
with half a brain sits and sniggers behind their hand, hoping
it grows up and calms down a bit.
may seem weak when it comes to having any kind of firm attitude
and strength to their drum-and-bass-castrated-for-mass-consumption
sound, but Hadouken! make them sound like Ed Rush
& Optical. Lame-arsed, flat productions with
all the bollocks of a eunuch, Hadouken! trade in dance clich?
after dance clich? and show no attempt to even venture slightly
outside their shouty-indie-nu rave dumb and bass. This will
only appeal to the band's direct peers and, even then, there
are masses of clued-up 18-year-olds out there who know one
end of decent dance music from the other.
If the only way
to make drum and bass appeal to '...The Masses' (urgh) is
to remove all semblance of genuine drama, tension and edge
from it then perhaps it's best left well alone. And if dance
music is going to be inane, which a fair amount of it is,
it should at least be joyful, unpretentious fun. This isn't.
Maybe For The
Masses will sell to the masses by the truckload. But then
again so does Susan Boyle. This album is only worthy of
more than one star for provoking a reaction. That, at least,
is better than being merely another dull shade of musical
grey. But only marginally.