Hadouken!: Every Weekend
Oh for goodness sake. I was really trying to like this one, as I remembered first hearing Hadouken! about five years ago, and thinking they were pretty good. Either I’ve got better, or they’ve got shitter. Discuss. I’m beginning to suspect that my editor is trying to fuck with me. This is a form of abuse, you know.
From reading the title, and the track listings, this appears to be a concept album based on the never-tiresome topic of taking a load of drugs on a Saturday night. All good so far. Press Play.
‘The Vortex’ Starts with some warlike electric orchestra rumblings, perhaps heralding the beginning to a weekend of aggressive electronic funtimes. Then a laid-back four-four kicks in and along come some almost satisfying wub-glitches, before the synth line goes into Prodigy inflected hardcore swirls, and a man starts doing a slightly aggressive and pointless little rap:
“ Each and every weekending/We spend it like the whole world’s ending/Each and every weekend/Let the whole world know how we like to spend it…”
So far it sounds a bit like they like to spend it doing mephedrone and punching people in an alleyway just off some shitty high street.
The next track is ‘Levitate’, and, going with the concept vibe, it sounds like they are now coming up off whatever research chems they happen to be ingesting this weekend. An important sounding drum line accompanies some building electric strummings until it quickly breaks and the aggressive man from the previous tune starts singing something about closing his eyes and floating, to a background of silvery piano-presses and spacious string stabs. It feels like I’m being given some unnecessarily euphoric gas by an alien dentist in some kind of chasm-like tin-foil surgery. Then a stomping wompy one-beat punches me out of my trans-dimensional languor, whilst some electro stuff happens that sounds like The Egg on a bad day, and the man keeps singing some stuff that I don’t care about. There are some occasional stringy breaks, and some not terrible swervy bass-warps, and even an acid technoy bit that happens for about 10 seconds. I read somewhere that the band formed in Leeds, and this makes sense to me, because so far this sounds like a commercial bastardisation of the Bassline genre: Bassline is apparently what happened when, one weekend, Dubstep went to visit some mates up north and did a life-changing amount of mega-gurners because it had left all its ketamine at home. Have-it-wub, if you will.
The next track is ‘Bliss Out’. It seems that the particular brand of alphabetty pharms these dudes are doing this weekend have a particularly long come-up period. The man sings: “ I’m on my way up/ so high up now/I’m floating in the clouds”, and the drums are all slightly skippy half-beat carrying a wall of sound composed of quite thin sounding strings and a lot of reverb. Every now and then the man does his rapping again, and there’s a bit of wompiness. But mostly it feels like being trapped in a longwinded ethereal robo-gurn, and I have to skip to the next track because it’s bringing back uncomfortable memories.
No solace here though: ‘As One’ sounds like a Robert Miles tune being remixed by Skrillex. I can’t say anything further because this has upset me so much that I need to spend a while holding myself in the safe place in my cupboard.
At this point in the concept album, their weekend seems to take a strange turn. The next four tracks are called ‘Parasite’, ‘Bad Signal’, ‘Stop Time’ and ‘Spill Your Guts’. Jesus, what sort of mephedrone dystopia do these poor fuckers inhabit?
‘Parasite’, like pretty much every tune here, starts like an ominous warning. But I have realised by now that this is basically just a device to make you think that the approaching music is going to be important or interesting. This is a wee excursion into vocal Drum and Bass. There are a few bits of warpy saw-wave bass action, but in general this is quite poor compared to an actual D and B tune. It’s not even as good as a Pendulum tune, so I can’t really see the point of it.
‘Bad Signal’ is a euphoric Dubsteppy number, and a lady has a go at some singing this time. I don’t know how better I can describe this.
‘Stop Time’ is a sort of laid-back bassy house-trance infusion, and I decide it’s high time I skip to the last track, to search at least for some sort of closure to this experience.
‘Daylight’ is an electric piano trancegimpy-clownstep hymn. Fuck.
As I mentioned, I first heard Hadouken! on the radio a few years ago, and I quite liked them. Back then they came off as a punky dance crossover act; definitely a ‘band’, in the way that you could almost hear them anarchically hammering away on a relatively inexpensive synthesizer. They seem to have entirely lost this vibe. This is apparently going to be their breakthrough album. I take this to mean that they have been given a large advance from a record label, and spent it all on doing so much miaowmiaow that they have forgotten how to play their instruments. As a result, it seems that they had to scrape together their remaining cash to hire in some faceless producer to press the buttons. The upside of this for them is that they are now probably so addled that they won’t feel it when they get violated by the scaly pricks of their reptilian management team.