Audio bullying would undoubtedly be preferable to the other bitter postmortems and callow, emo-baiting “ironic” electro-thrash that have been passing for dance music thrills these last few years—anything that puts the focus back on sensation instead of scenesterdom. I’ll admit that a quick once over of the packaging for Audio Bullys’ sophomore album Generation looked dire: lead-off smash single built around a vocal sample of Nancy Sinatra, and distributed by Ast-dull-werks at that. (I mean, have they even released a techno album since Y2K?) Turns out that the smash does just that: it smashes propriety and very nearly achieves pop single greatness through its sheer will to do extremely, charmingly stupid things. Sinatra’s “bang, bang, my baby shot me down” refrain—which could have been taken at face value to rival “Little Fluffy Clouds” in disaffected reverie—becomes stupid. To clarify, I’m talking post-donkey punch stupid; Nancy’s new, headboard-against-head chorus comes out “nn-dow, nn-dow, nn-dow-ow, uhn!” The obligatory four-fourus interruptus, those triple time metronomic choo-choo breaks, go on long enough to sound like the beginning of a different, tacky happy hardcore song. Best and worst of all, the gunfire sound effects that are about as subtle as the air raid sirens on Gap Band’s “You Dropped A Bomb On Me.” Watch the entire dance floor switch up and reload when the DJ whips this ridiculous novelty pop-gun from its holster. As for the rest of their album, the best that can be said about it is that Audio Bullys don’t waste energy giving any of their half-baked whims time to develop into songs. (Good thing, too. If they had, most of them would’ve tanked.) Generation runs under an hour and boasts 17 tracks, only two of which go much above four minutes. And did I mention some of these songs are ballads? Like “I’m In Love,” a niminy-piminy bit of cheesecake with a keyboard melody line seemingly played via tiptoe, which sounds not too far removed from Daft Punk’s dirge-like “Emotion” but for the fact that it doesn’t thud along for roughly a half hour. Still, the best is served up first, with “Shot You Down” immediately followed by the house-nostalgia (and Whispers samples) of “Keep On Moving” and “Bring Light,” dance tracks smooth enough to allow Nancy some time to recuperate.
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