Burnout rears its disillusioned head in all sorts of music scenes, but rarely does anyone figure they can rock a party with it. So this puts Jon Nowell and Daniel Ormondroyd of FC Kahuna at an advantage. They may not be able to place themselves at the forefront of a trend like electroclash--they already saw the Chemical Brothers/Fatboy Slim-fueled Big Beat trend blow up and blow out when they helmed the London club night Big Kahuna Burger. Nor can they revisit the heady pill-fueled hedonism of the late-'80s British dance scene that made them and pretend that nothing has changed. But they can use all the lessons they've learned and funnel them into the songs that make up their debut disc, Machine Says Yes, a potent and multifaceted antidote to the easy formulas that now dominate the sound systems in clubs the world over.
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From the illuminated billboard on the album's cover to the sneering putdowns of "market demographics" on "Nothing Is Wrong," FC Kahuna takes every opportunity it gets to blame an anesthetized nightclub audience for the sorry state of affairs. The hope Ormondroyd and Nowell hold out for their listeners lies in the originality of their own sound. Aphex Twin-inspired digital glitches and delicately treated guitars share space with propulsive house grooves ("Glitterball") and bizarre electro interludes ("Bleep Freak"). And gentle space ballads like "Hayling"--featuring former Gus Gus chanteuse Hafdis Huld on vocals--illustrate the group's maturity and range. So even if FC Kahuna are neither flavor-of-the-month nor starry-eyed innocents anymore, Machine Says Yes still grooves with equal parts energy and experience.