_hello world by Information Society (HAKATAK International / MVD)
I had to take a refresher course in early Information Society and quickly realized why I didn’t follow the band. They made pop music from all the latest technology that was being used by the likes of C&C Music Factory and the flash-in-the-pans of pop radio and MTV. Their videos were kinetic and colorful and their singles were catchy. Fast-forward 26 years and the main trio have returned with a quite solid and danceable album in _hello world. Now I’m a fan!
There’s a techno dance party that you might want to go to, and if Arnold Schwarze-negger tells you to “Get your ass to Mars” you should listen. The Prize is all pumping beats, buzzing synths and popping bass, with Kurt Harland singing “I’m coming up from the ground with my eyes on the prize” like he’s trying to overcome some herculean challenge. If the challenge is to get the listener to dance then they’ve succeeded. Where Were You starts out all dark and industrial/gothic before adding a more bombastic chorus. Get Back is high energy techno with skittering beats and James Cassidy’s pumping bass, Paul Robb’s keys putting some much needed emotion into backing Harland’s impassioned singing. I imagine clubs all over the world with kids singing this song at the top of their lungs, floors slick with sweat.
Jonestown is a more traditional song structure and all the more accessible for it. Anthemic with churning and funky bass and dramatic piano work, this should be a live favorite. Dancing With Strangers shows the trio still have some weird in them, Harland rapping over buzzy synths and banjo then singing over a looser beat for the chorus, making nonsense sounds like he’s chanting to the musical gods.
Speaking of musical gods, Devo’s own Gerald V. Casale joins Information Society for a spirited rendition of Beautiful World and the trio do Casale proud (“Hey hey!”). Above and Below slows down with dramatic and anguished vocals by Harland and tasteful piano from Robb, showing the band can do sexy too. _Hello world comes to a close with Tomorrow the World, strings backing Harland’s up-front and powerful vocals, sounding for all the world like Dave Gahan, joined by electric guitar and clattering percussion. This song proves the musical prowess of Robb, Cassidy and Harland off the dancefloor as well as on.
(Review by Bret Miller)