On a first listen of Information Society’s Hello World, you might find yourself so deep in the over-the-top theatricality of this kind of kitschy 80’s dance-pop that you’re expecting “You Spin Me Round” to come through the speakers at any moment. The sound has been updated ever so slightly. Here, you’ll find cleaner synth lines, more high-definition sound effects and the tendency toward a glitchy percussion style, as if boiled down from modern EDM and dumped into a sloshing vat of hairspray.
Strangely enough, Information Society is alleged to have originated as an avant-garde electronic music act in the early 80’s. Whether this tale is the product of creative historical editing or a simple misappropriation of terms is unclear. What is clear is that by the time the band produced their breakout hit, “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy),” in 1988, any shred of the avant-garde had been dashed in favor of the plastic commercialism and anti-creativity that defined many acts of the era. Rather than pushing the envelope, Information Society became a stamp on it.
Very little, it seems, has changed for this band over the past 25 years. Rather than sampling Star Trek for their aural flourishes, now they’ve moved onto Total Recall. It sounds like they’re recording on more expensive equipment. Musically, this is still the same band that has as much character as a polyester suit. There’s even a Devo cover thrown into the mix, and it adds absolutely no new perspective whatsoever on the original. Vapid would be one term to use in describing Hello World. Artistically bankrupt might be a more accurate term. The chant of “Get Back” is oddly telling: “We’ve to get back / to the way we used to be.” If that is indeed the idea, the album is a smashing success.
Hello World is difficult to talk about, in part because there’s just so little to say about it. If you somehow get frustrated by a lack of late-80’s synth-pop in the musical landscape, you might enjoy having another record to add to an army of Duran Duran and Flock of Seagulls clones. Hello World is the musical equivalent of a disposable plastic bag, and about as interesting to listen to.