I have a lot of old links pointing to this article that hasn’t been present for a long long time, so I figure I should wrote something here. I found my old review in the Internet Archive and decided that I should really write it all over again. I’m a better writer now, and I can give more thoughts.
So, it’s best to start out with a history.
In Minneapolis in the early eighties, three guys started a band, paid their dues, and got a big big big hit called “What’s On Your Mind (pure energy)”, plus a follow-on album.
Then they released “Peace and Love, Inc” which is where I joined the story. I still love this song a LOT. After that album, the band kind of fell apart and the one remaining member, Kurt Harland, continued on under the name.
Kurt got the Internet Buzz thing down about 5 years too early, with Insoc.org.
Which takes up to “Don’t Be Afraid”, which is really a gem. It’s more Industrial sounding (which is almost to be expected, you have to remember that these were one of the many bands that got their start listening to Kraftwerk) than prior efforts with the three guys. The vocals sound the same as the earlier work, but he added electric guitars and orchestral instruments. The vocal harmonies are gone, but you still hear Kurt singing (which is a definite plus for me… I’ve always been a huge fan of his singing voice). The theme of a depressing dissatisfaction with modern society is a popular theme throughout all the songs which makes this album much darker than their previous work.
There’s a cover of a Garry Numan song “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” with lyrics about a man who’s only friend, a robot, has broken down. “On The Outside” talks about self-harm and alienation. “Ending World” is self explanatory.
I’m not sure that you can fit this into any proper sub-genre of electronica because it mostly blends between influences.
This album is almost a double CD. One CD contains the audio tracks, and the other CD contains digital InSoc memorabilia, including the music video to “Peace and Love, Inc.” that never was aired on MTV and some video clips of Kurt’s car, which has been lovingly modified with assorted metal-working instruments and flat-black spray paint into a prototypical cyberpunk-rocker car that appeared on the cover to “Hack”.
You can kind of tell that this was a form in the road. See, Kurt had intended to tour in support of this album, but it didn’t get any real support, so there was never any follow-on effort and Kurt returned to doing the sound for video games. And you really need to read the whole “Bands Reunited” escapade while you are at it.