[one_half last=”no”]
Reset - Cover

[one_half last=”yes”]ATARI TEENAGE RIOT

Release-Date: 09.02.2015
Label: Digital Hardcore

01. J1m1
02. Street Grime
03. Reset
04. Death Machine
05. Modern Liars
06. Cra$H
07. New Blood
08. Transducer
09. Erase Your Face
10. We Are From The Internet

NBHAP Rating: 3/5


Breaking the trance

In the 1984 cyberpunk film Decoder, the protagonist realises something. The world is full of muzak, pumped into shopping malls, railway stations and subways to sedate, distract and numb the population. His solution is to hack the muzak and remix it to stir the population into life and to react against their oppression. ATARI TEENAGE RIOT could be said to have a similar motive. Formed in 1992, they combined radicalism with harsh, driving techno in an attempt to snap the youth out of their political slumber. Now they’re back with Reset, their fifth studio album.

Power and poise

Musically, it’s one hell of an experience. ATARI TEENAGE RIOT pump their songs full of muscle, sounding like CRYSTAL CASTLES’ steroid-addled older brother. This is an album of hyper-pneumatic arena techno, designed to win the listener over by womping and stunning them into acquiescence. However, the band also show themselves to be capable of variety and texture. Tracks like Street Crime move with a low-key, sinister groove. Modern Liars (the second single to be released from the album) thunders along with ferocious intensity, before breaking into a sugar-sweet melodic chorus. The music here grips your attention and thrashes it around for the forty-minute duration, leaving the listener dazed, but eager for another round. When they get it right it’s intoxicating, digital Durutti does rave.

Tired Rhetoric

However, ATARI TEENAGE RIOT were renowned for their politics as much as their music, and here’s where the album falls flat a little. It’s not for want of effort; with song titles like Death Machine and New Blood, and lyrics like ‘a skeleton in a fur coat is driven in a limousine,’ the band’s commitment to exposing the wrongs of the world remains unquestionable. However, the revolutionary rhetoric just feels a little flat and jaded. Modern radicalism needs to be subtle, subversive and fresh. And Reset often falls into the trap of relentlessly repeating slogans we’ve all heard a million times before. The good intentions are there, but the desired impact is not. And that’s where Reset struggles. It’s a perfectly good album, but it doesn’t quite have the mind-shredding revolutionary potential it aims for.

‘Reset’ retains a shadow of ATARI TEENAGE RIOT’s ability to shock listeners into awareness, especially on a musical level, but can’t quite replicate the impact of their earlier work.