Fans of legacy gaming soundtracks, or those people who like the music second-rate movies play during the credits for the best boy and gaffer, will fancy this one. Using the theme Crimes of the Future, FR/Action has amassed a lineup that include titles like, King of the Streets, Vigilante, Crime Pays, Rolling Thunder, Revolver and Corrupt. Musically it plays more like Miami Vice than Grand Theft Auto. Whereas Jan Hammers scores of the quintessential 80s crime drama were groundbreaking, FR/Action has not created anything to move the genre.
The songs are all impeccably clean. All the rhythms are as tight as a cheerleader with good grooming. All the patches are perfectly tuned and synched. The construction of the songs layers are so similar not a lot sets them apart from one another. The patch, sound and rhythm selections can be found in most techno stock .wav CDs. The chordal progressions run through basic major tonics and almost always in a 1-4-5-1, or 1-5-6-4 pattern. There are plenty of programs for amateurs out there that can accomplish all this in a drag-and-drop environment
Musically it is nothing that hasnt been done before and would best stand shoulder-to-shoulder with pre-Pentium electronica.
The lyrics give the songs differentiation. They have a nice stylized processed sound and are strongly reminiscent of The Pet Shop Boys. Imagine The Pet Shop Boys singing what is this side of a crime-based rock-opera, over what is little more than a Sega Genesis game track.
Musically there is nothing bad about it. In fact, all the engineering and execution elements are flawless. Theres just not a lot of meat here. It may play well in clubs, as the song the DJ sneaks in between requests, but most will not find it entertaining. Its sound has been done before a thousand times over, by better, and when the other Bush was in the White House. Recreating these songs with live players and using more organic sounds, perhaps the occasional minor 7th, may help bring the musical soul out from under the stale environment its currently lost in.
Post: Cohaagen Music, PO Box 28293, Oakland, CA, 94604, USA