an essential cyber-pop album by

Information Society

those guys with the

Strange haircuts, cardboard guitars and computer samples

think about it (think about it) think about it

Hack is one of my favorite synthpop albums of all time. It shows more musical and lyrical maturity than InSoc's eponymous first album, without the overly technopop sound of Peace And Love, Inc. The band had really hit its stride: experienced enough to be musically adept, but still eager to experiment with synthesizers and sampling techniques in new and innovative ways.

Hack marked the beginning of InSoc's use of cyberpunk themes in its music and lyrics; the cyberpunk look, sound and referencing lyrics stayed with the band ever since. Several of InSoc's songs directly reference Neuromancer by William Gibson, though none do so more than Mirrorshades, a wonderful synth-jazzy song inspired by (and clearly about) his character Molly, who many will remember from Johnny Mnemonic, Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive. The song's synth-jazz elements are strongly reminiscent of Vangelis's score for Blade Runner.

she was so absolutely digital
to jack in now was wrong
but cupid punches deck with chemicals
while dark madonna sings her song

The album is, for the must part, truly cheerful and upbeat, with none of the dark, fast, center-cannot-hold industrial edge that would appear briefly in Peace And Love, Inc. with the song "Still Here" -- and came raging out of the depths of Kurt Harland's apparently tortured soul in InSoc's last album, Don't Be Afraid. On Hack, InSoc lets itself play with charming little inventions ("Knife and a Fork", which is annoying yet incredibly infectious, and "Hard Currency", which reminds me of the Pink Floyd classic "Money" gone techno) and keeps a lighthearted tone, even when singing about the loss of love ("Think") and lovers separated by an outbreak of war and civil unrest in a city ("Fire Tonight").

If you like synthpop with a wonderful geeky twist, give Hack a listen.

Track List

  1. Seek 200
  2. How Long
  3. Think / Wenn Wellen Schwingen
  4. Knife And A Fork, A / R. I. P.
  5. Now That I Have You
  6. Fire Tonight
  7. Can't Slow Down / T. V. Addicts
  8. Hard Currency
  9. Move Out / C. P. Drill K. K. L.
  10. Mirrorshades / We Don't Take
  11. Hack 1 / Charlie X
  12. If Only
  13. Come With Me
  14. Slipping Away / Here Is Kazmeyer
  15. Chemistry

Album Info

Release Date: October 5, 1990
Label: Tommy Boy/Reprise
Produced By: Fred Maher & InSoc
Information Society Is: Kurt Harland, Paul Robb, James Cassidy

we don't take no shit from a