Hadouken! are a strange case.
The band is remembered by many people of a certain generation, after bursting out of the nu-rave explosion and fighting for their place. They are named after a move in the game Street Fighter and were more ready for the fight than many of their peers. So, here they stand with the release of their third album Every Weekend.
Hadouken! were dismissed by many as a band for the teenagers who sat and watched Skins while nursing a bottle of Strongbow (as single ‘Liquid Lies’ encouraged people to “Drink, smoke, fuck” and indeed, “fight”). Adored by other for offering a bridge between screeching synth bands and alternative indie records.
So what of the band now? After the neon face paint has faded what is left of the unlikely success story of this London band?
The album opens with ‘The Vortex’, as it sounds a klaxon for the return of the band. The track boils along nicely, but gives you fair warning of what is to come. Thundering bass, lyrics about the weekend, and siren-styled backing tracks.
‘Levitate’ bounces along with the clear intention of sending people in a club into frenzies. The track offers all the over the top synths you would expect from Hadouken!, but leans too heavily on the classic dance track format (quiet-LOUD-very quiet-LOUD AGAIN).
This is where ‘Bliss Out’ is refreshing. A track that ducks and dives, showing the swagger that Hadouken! have developed since the release of debut album ‘Music For An Accelerated Culture’. They strike the right balance between the whining seethes and the rest of the band’s contribution. Frontman Jamie Smith is given the chance to showcase his clever lyricism: “I’m on my way up, so high off life, I’m floating in the clouds,” giving a rare contrast to the depiction of Hadouken! as a party band.
On the other hand, ‘Parasite’ sounds as if it’s a tribute to Australia’s one time dance superstars Pendulum. The song signals a band that still look to the bands that came with them out of the nu-rave golden era, and just as quickly crawled back into their caves.
After a strong start the album descends into unnecessary dubstep. The band seems to get lost in what they think they should sound like in 2013, rather than put stamping their own trademarks on the dance tracks. ‘Spill Your Guts’ sees the band try to emulate Skrillex, a very dirty word to be thrown around modern music. Bass lines sounding like the frowned-upon dance producer, mixed with lyrics about throwing up on a night out unsurprisingly do not make for a great track.
‘The Comedown’ acts as a morning-after-the-night-before style track. It is significantly lighter than the others, but still makes sure to batter glitching synths into your head one last time.
By the end of the album, it’s impossible to tell one track from another for the last twenty minutes. All you know is the band go out and drink, a lot. Alongside this, you are left with is a new appreciation of a simple Casio preset setting, in contrast to being attacked by a different synth functions every thirty seconds.
Hadouken! are a strange case.