Listen Up: Wednesday, September 07, 2005
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Hard-Fi

Stars of CCtv (Vice Records)

By Justin Press

In case you were wondering what child-man Rick Astley would have sounded like in front of a rock band rather than the slew of synth-pop session players that usually backed him, your wishes have been answered. Touted as this week’s Next Big Thing from across the pond, Hard-Fi is anything but — they’re just another in a long line of Brit-pop knock-offs. The band is only exceptional in making a music fan long for the days when Oasis and Blur didn’t suck incredibly. (Sigh.)

From blue-collar Surrey County, England, Hard-Fi made its reputation as a “true band on the dole,” which is fine — there’s nothing more romantic than the thought of bohemian rockers living off coffee and cigarettes. But when the recording itself sounds as if it was paid for by the previous night’s busking tips, anyone who pays hard-earned cash for this shite deserves a refund.

Nauseating Brit mags, such as Q and NME, like to compare Hard-Fi to the Specials, merely because Hard-Fi likes ska. Sorry, folks, but a good record collection does not a good band make. You gotta have chops, and, in this department, Hard-Fi is sorely lacking. Tracks like “Cash Machine” and “Tied Up Tight” may rock the colorfully lit dance floor, but they sorely lack any sort of genuine swing or sense of melody to make them memorable.

By the looks of these (older) guys, you’d think that they’d know better. But they come off like a bunch of geezers trying to sound retro instead of, in the words of Harry Shearer in A Mighty Wind, “now-tro.” Too bad. — Justin Pres


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