The Future Sound of London

Accelerator

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Compared to where most of the band's career would later go, Accelerator is a fairly conventional debut from the duo -- certainly it's the most explicitly commercial-minded the duo ever was, slotting in well with many other early-'90s U.K. dance/techno outfits. As such it's also arguably the least cryptic and most approachable release for newcomers, holding up well a decade after its original appearance. Rather than focusing on ambient experimentalism or industrial noise destruction, here Future Sound of London sound like a straightforward if at times inspired act, whose tendencies to push the envelope are secondary to keeping the beat going. The main reason to listen remains its awesome single "Papua New Guinea," blending a treated vocal sample from Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard with a slightly sped-up James Brown drum loop and other, more shadowy touches like echoed piano. The result combines exaltation, energy, and atmosphere into a dramatic result, as danceable as it is subtly threatening. At various points on Accelerator, FSOL show an inspired focus on breakbeats as much as acid pulses; while nowhere near as frenetic as other early hardcore/jungle creations, the music clearly leans towards those records in inspiration. "Expander," which also appears in a remix at the end, makes for a good start for the album along those lines, while "Central Industrial" plays around with more distorted rhythms. At other points FSOL follows in more conventional veins -- "Stolen Documents" is practically an early 808 State track in all but name -- while throwing in odd noises and background quirks which in later years would dominate their own compositions. "It's Not My Problem" in particular is a fun little creepout, a flat semi-robot voice declaiming the title as needed while buried synths create a darker mood amidst the regular beat and additional, echoed percussion hits.

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