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Album Review

The Minneapolis-based synth-pop group Information Society scored in 1988 with the Top Ten hits "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" and "Walking Away," both from the band's platinum-selling self-titled debut album. The band released the more experimental Hack in 1990; although it contains a few tunes that are just as good as those on the debut, the album is marred considerably by repetition and excess. "Think," the first single, became a minor hit single in 1990, with good reason; the tune could have fit in quite well with the insanely catchy dance pop of the debut. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of tracks on Hack that show off Information Society's strengths. The band's best songs from the debut ("What's On Your Mind," for example) mixed Latin rhythms with somewhat dark synth-pop and vocalist Kurt Harland's snide delivery, which is reminiscent of the Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey. On Hack, too many of the tunes drag (like the unbearable "Fire Tonight") and sound alike ("Now That I Have You" is a virtual rewrite of "Think"), and the overuse of sound effects and production gimmicks suggests Information Society was attempting a more aggressive (or perhaps obnoxious) sound. Instead, this approach adds unnecessary weight to the material, and the pop sensibility that made the debut album so successful has all but disappeared. This album is also cluttered with annoying, pretentious between-song sound collages that serve no purpose other than to test the skip mechanism on CD players. If Information Society had spent a little more time coming up with actual songs instead of worthless filler, and if the band had focused more on hooks instead of production, Hack may have kept them from becoming a flash in the pan. The handful of good songs here prove the band could have maintained its success, but it was not to be. It tanked, not even going gold and failing to yield even one major hit. Information Society released Peace and Love, Inc. in 1992, which failed to re-establish the band as hitmakers.

Customer Reviews

Old School Atari Nerds Must Have

If you logged on to BBS's before there was an internet you need this album. Even if you don't like it, you just need it. Paul Robb is the man, this is probably one of the most underrated albums of all time.

Oh. My. God.

The first cassette I bought, the first CD I bought, and the first CD I burned. This proto-techno album has some great moodsetters as well as some homages to Gibsonian cyberpunk (the most obvious of which is 'Mirrorshades', a song written for Molly Millions/Sally Shears). In to Cyberpunk? In to the 80's? In to techno? You must own this album.

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE REVIEW ABOVE

This album only failed because it was so many years ahead of its time--and it sounds amazingly current today. Brilliant. So, OK, some of the *songs* aren't grammy material, but they aren't bad either. It's the bits in-between (derided above) that are sheer genius, especially given the year when this record was originally released (1990). Some serious sample hackery that would make even Trent Reznor blush. Check it out, you won't regret it. My favorite tracks are Come With Me, If Only, Slipping Away, and Think.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '80s

An agreeable dance outfit with ties to industrial music, techno, and funk plus an equally appreciable pop sense, Information Society hit the dance clubs and later the charts with their infectious breakout single, 1988's "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)." The group, a quartet formed in Minneapolis by James Cassidy, Paul Robb, Kurt Harland (aka Kurt Valaquen), and Amanda Kramer, signed to Tommy Boy Records a few years later and recorded a self-titled debut album. The single "What's on Your Mind (Pure...
Full Bio
Hack, Information Society
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Electronic, Dance
  • Released: 1990

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