Look who's back from a four year break in the wilderness! Having released their first two albums in consecutive years, Staines four piece Hard Fi have returned with a new direction and drive in the form of the exuberant Killer Sounds.
It's obvious after one listen of Aint Good for Nothing that Richard Archer and co were not content with feeding us with hard luck stories from the suburbs. Instead the lead single from Killer Sounds is a feel good beat heavy stomper equipped with horn sections and chants to hammer home new found influences.
It was always going to be interesting to see just how Hard Fi would return, following the positive reviews and feed back of Stars of CCTV, the band took a good old fashion kicking in the wake of Once Upon a Time in the West, partly due to the 'No Cover Art' palaver that was always going to ruffle feathers but also because it sounded like a poor rehash of the first album. For a large part of the four years Hard Fi have taken to follow up that album, you had to fear for them in terms of relevance, would people care when they returned? Would that massive fan base that saw them sell out a five night residency at Brixton academy back in 2006 still be loyal to the cause? In such fickle times only time can tell.
In terms of the sound of the album, its closer at times to the poppy overtones of Stars of CCTV rather than their sophomore album, track such as single material Love song tend not to differ too far away from the likes of Living for the Weekend, whereas Sweat harks back to the bands debut for different reasons, instead of similarities in term of sound, it borrows from the albums damming reflection on the modern workplace.
It would be impossible to pin point an exact sound for Killer Sounds, it refuses bluntly to be put into a box, changing with each track from pop to punk to new wave without prior warning. Ive read it described as cartoonish, and that's not a description I could argue with, they say never judge a book by its cover but in this case you can, just like its album artwork (that's right they've returned to that old format) Killer Sounds is a colourful and playful album. The grove heavy sound of the noughties Hard Fi remains, however a few tweaks have taken place in terms of production and writing subjects and inspiration. It doesn't all go to plan though, Sweat is pretty rancid and belongs in the realms of 'bonus track' while Feels Good is a tad generic and dull. Luckily there is a big enough nucleus of strong tracks helping to prop up Killer sounds in the shape of the brooding Fire in the House, Love Song and Killer Sounds.
Hard Fi might never again scale the heights of the Charts with their album releases as they have before and perhaps they won't sell out Brixton for an entire week again, but that's the way it goes once that initial buzz of a new band has worn off. All the same, one things for sure, they're far from irrelevant.
Official Site -