Album Review: Hadouken! – Music for an Accelerated Culture

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Not only is the band Hadouken! named after the sacred Street Fighter move, but it also has, thanks to the press, all kinds of genre names to describe them, such as grime, grindie (combo of indie and grime). Some have even tacked on the circa 2007 genre, New Rave or Nu-Rave (depending on your proclivity for spelling shortcuts). So by judging on those terms, the group’s album can’t fail or at least be boring.

The problem with music that sounds so fresh, new and exciting like Hadouken! is that there are two ways to describe them, and both sound dumb or pretentious. For the sake of this review, let’s give them a chance. On one hand, the Leeds based outfit combines the youthful aggression of new rave and mixes it with the urban grit of grime music. However, on the other end of the spectrum, Hadouken! is a cross between Klaxons, Dizzee Rascal, Crystal Castles, and Lady Sovereign. Either way you have it, Hadouken! is meant to be listened to very loudly and you must be drunk and under 30.

This is the Leeds band’s debut album and boy is it invigorating. Clocking in at only 38 minutes, Music for an Accelerated Culture is a burst of energy into a seemingly light and airy 2008. In terms of energy, the band draws a lot of their excitement from their almost techno edge, almost rapped lyrics, and the fact that they are still a five piece rock band. Very few albums that sound like this will ever be performed, nevertheless made at all with a full band. Although it’s short, the album contains many great tracks for any type of party and much of the lyrics on the album deal with rebellious youth, drinking, relationships, and other hot topics for the under 30 crowd.

Possibly one of the funniest and most relevant songs written in 2008, “Crank It Up” is a little over 3 minutes of a band singing about the song that they are singing. There are no lyrics giving a story, no political message, and no pretensions. Hadouken! is telling you that lyrics don’t matter, it’s the music, listen to the song, make people listen to it, steal it if needed but make sure it is loud. Here are actual lyrics contained in “Crank It Up”. They are quite the treat.

“Rip the tune off the compact disc and drag into your favourites playlist
Convert to MP3 and give it 5 stars in your iTunes library
Set as your profile song and show the hipsters that you’re first to quote this one
Bluetooth the file to your phone and set this track as your default ringtone”

As for the album itself, it starts off with “Get Smashed Gate Crash”, bearing video game noises, filtered percussion and the all mighty phrase, “Let’s get this party started.” In other words, it’s the best song of its kind since The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up.” “Mr. Misfortune” is one of the more mainstream accessible songs on the album. It features optimistic, advice-like lyrics for any sorry excuse of a guy out there, in addition to danceable keyboard work, and, what can only be described as the ultimate stock party drumbeat.

“Liquid Lives” dips into dark techno with some very deep synthesizer but melds it well with some of the faster spoken lyrics on the album to create a very driving, aggressive song. “Driving Nowhere” is essentially the “ballad” of the album. The electronic sounds stray into Euro-pop and the lyrics seem to be sung more than spoken or rapped, but the hard rock guitar work done near the end of the song are well timed and well executed. As for the pacing, the rest of the tracks flow into and out of the above mentioned highlights with ease. They all contain the 8-bit sounds, a driving rock sound behind everything, and very fresh lyrical delivery.

Overall, Music for an Accelerated Culture is an extremely exciting debut album from a new band. It is not for everyone, namely female teetotalers and people with sensitive ears. For the rest of the people out there, the album never goes too far into techno to make people cringe. It never goes too far into rap to turn away fans of singing. The album and band do however go too far into well-written lyrics bordering on art and advancement of the keyboard, so be wary of that if you are against that kind of thing.

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