5 out of 5
Label: No Karma Recordings
Produced by: Justin Perkins
On the one hand, I would say that there are better HiFi albums to start with – more recognizable singles or themes – but at the same time, this is the disc I started with, and it sorta made me an instant convert. I still haven’t heard anything quite like it: anything so equally noisy and chaotic and yet tuneful and poppy. It’s easy to lay this at the feet or (feats) of ‘Noise Lesion,’ a player exclusive to this album who is specifically credited with noise, but his contributions are just a piece of the insanity cooked up by our guitar, bass and drum founders, who clatter all over one another (and all sing). There are no singles; nothing discernible as such in the way future tracks would be, the songs flowing into one another, and yet, this album is stuffed with riffs and standout moments that have you bopping your head along.
Fitting in with the binary album title, there’s a tech and science obsession that ties the experience together, both lyrically and sonically – synths a’robotty buzzing and vocals distorted – that interestingly further unifies the listening experience despite the chaos. The sequencing is equally engaging, diverging into true noise instrumentals at moments when it pays to break from the distortion or yowling, and closing on the wonderfully robotic and poppy (but still loud!) She’s My Machine.
Brash, unique – and freaking awesome – IfIHadAHiFi’s Ones and Zeroes may not be the most albumey of their albums, but chances are if you like what you hear here, you wont have any doubts about picking up the rest of their catalogue right away.