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Information Society

Hard to believe that a group with such a perfect ear for Latin-disco dance music hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota! It's been a while since they scored big with "Running" (included here), a single which earned them their contract with Tommy Boy, but their debut LP makes good on that song's promise. The album presents textbook-perfect, hyperkinetic dance tunes which are busting at the seams with samples from the group's enormous "sample library." Lush, heavily stylized vocals recall a variety of seminal Euro-dance bands (Thompson Twins on the fab single "What's On Your Mind," and OMD or Spandau Ballet on the slower "Repetition"), while polyrhythmic electronic percussion completes the picture. In addition to those tracks, also take special note of the perked-up, ABBA cover "Lay All Your Love On Me" (yet another brilliant move by the band), as well as "Make it Funky," with wacked-out vocals from what sounds like a Macintosh computer voice-synthesis program!


Hack

"...What makes 'Hack' such a fun surprise isn't so much pure energy as technological theft...."
Spin 2/91

"...Clever as the computer stuff is, where these guys really get brainy is in the songwriting...finding hooks in electronic abstractions like "R.I.P" or "CP Drill KKL" is pure genius...."
Musician 1/91, p.92


Don't Be Afraid

You'll remember Information Society as the techno-pop quartet of the late-'80s who skipped across your MTV wish neo-punk hair dont's and sampled Star Trek geek chatter while singing refrains about "pure energy." Well, times have changed since the `80s dye job was "in" and Information Society has changed as well. First of all, IS is no longer a "band": it's a moniker for Kurt Harland, the group's original frontman and sonic overseer since day one. And Harland has finally laid his day-glow guitars and electro-pop melodies to rest (although he still sports the funny haircut). Don`t Be Afraid..., the first release since 1992's long-forgotten Peace & Love, Inc., shows IS at the dawn of a new direction. Blurring the lines between pop, rock, techno, industrial and darkwave, IS lurks in the shadows with a more sinister musical edge. "Empty," the disc's opener, is marked by somber orchestration, a trudging backbeat, and a vocal/musical arrangement that sounds like the bastard child of Laibach and Depeche Mode. The trend continues with the driving guitar riffs of "Closing In," the menacing, ambient dreamscape of "The Ridge," and the cover of Gary Numan's "Are Friends Electric" (the undisputed highlight). Able to maintain the feel of the old with the skin of the new, Don't Be Afraid... puts Harland pack on the map as a producer and songwriter to watch.

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