Stars of CCTV return with Killer Sound

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Album reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hard-Fi turn Hindustani on Killer Sounds number Feels Good

After a four year hiatus, Hard Fi are back to ruffle some more feathers with their third effort Killer Sounds.

Despite the ruthless media received by second album Once Upon a Time in the West, it was still a number one record. For some the stale stories of suburbia coupled with (no) cover art cockiness were a poor recipe. Others felt the Staines supremos delivered a decent follow-up to their Mercury-nominated debut, a record they were always unlikely to eclipse.

Here Hard-Fi continue their progression, blending dance-punk sounds often in sensational soundclash style like on Sweat and with a Hindustani sitar on Feels Good. Recurring references to politicians, war, Friday nights, the working class and thinning money will inevitably fuel critic’s calls of a lyrically-thin album. But Killer Sounds only claims to be ear candy, not poet laureate material.

Good for Nothing is in equal measures a swaggering anthem and a pugnacious statement. Presumably it’s Richard Archer’s message to the archetypal music critic who amongst other things “just talks, never listens, complains about his love of music, and don’t like him because he don’t fit”. But Archer is in fighting mood. “Tell me are you happy? What are you good for?” he demands to know. As if to acknowledge the band’s burgeoning Latin American fanbase he translates the main message into Spanish, “bueno para nada”.

Starting off more Fedde Le Grand than The Jam, it’s obvious who Fire in the House is meant for: a club-coiffured cocktail of lyrical smoothie if ever I’ve heard one, to carton alongside The Killers’ Mr Brightside. “We danced all night, we kissed all night” Archer smooches on the second single which sees their much-mentioned dance influence come to the fore.

Title track Killer Sounds maintains the fine Hard-Fi tradition of acoustic album-closers, adding to Stars of CCTV and The King. “You’ve gotta play it cool, real cool, you’ve gotta let frustration be a friend to you” reckons Archer who has faced a fair bit himself since 2007.

Sweat & Fire in the House are the sort of buzzwords usually exploited by mediocre rappers not supposed indie rockers, no offence Snoop Dogg. Bring It On and Give It Up are killer tunes, throbbing with energy. Love Song has refreshing punch, though Excitement fails to justify its name and is instead a class A example of an experimental B-side.

Recently I saw a gig listing for Hard-Fi describing the band’s music as “kitchen-sink” soul pop. What this implies I am unsure. Perhaps it was an insinuation that their produce is destined for the plughole rather than the earhole. On this evidence I would strongly suggest not.

Exactly what is says on the tin.

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