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Stars of CCTV

Hard-Fi

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Album Review

Naturally, NME called Hard-Fi's debut album, Stars of CCTV, "the album of the year" upon its U.K. release in 2005. A year later, the Staines, England, foursome had a Mercury Music Prize nomination under its belt as well as two Brit Awards nods and a U.K. number one album. Those following the buzz on the other side of the Atlantic finally got their wish with the domestic release of Stars of CCTV in mid-March. With the popularity of Franz Ferdinand, Kasabian, and the Kaiser Chiefs simmering down around this time, Hard-Fi stepped into the American pop conscience when they were supposed to. While their spark and spunk are near matches of those aforementioned acts, Hard-Fi delivers more of an angst kind of performance. Frontman Richard Archer is fueled by Tony Blair's England. After all, these are four friends from a southwest London town. They sound like a garage band while delving into the monotony of everyday suburban life, referring to their small town upbringing. Thus a raw kind of work ethic gradually emerges on Stars of CCTV. Their formula of snappy choruses and tight guitar hooks, particularly on "Middle Eastern Holiday" and "Gotta Reason," captures Hard-Fi's youthful presentation. Archer's boyish vocals switch off between gritty and playful. If "Living for the Weekend" does not convince you of Hard-Fi's anxious effort in getting you to ease up on the ho-hum of working for a living, the fresh disco beats of "Hard to Beat" surely will. Hard-Fi's desire to create something solid enjoyable in the midst of everyday monotony is what makes Stars of CCTV an enjoyable first effort. Whether they are singing about having little money, unexpected pregnancy ("Cash Machine"), or a war-torn world ("Feltham's Singing Out"), Hard-Fi looks for something positive. Stars of CCTV offers a reason to look for something positive, too.

Customer Reviews

HOOKS, HOOKS and more HOOKS!

Hard-Fi's sound is a slick combination of highly danceable 70s disco, raw alt-rock punk riffs, and anthemic choruses. They have expertly crafted some very memorable pop songs which display a maturity in songwriting akin to The Clash, Duran Duran, The Police and early U2. The arrangements flow naturally and make this an easily digestable album. I heard this album was recorded in the band's own studio. This seems a novel concept considering how many bands fall victim to over-production when confronted with state-of-the-art recording studios. This is an impressive debut from a band whose songs are remarkably 'arena-friendly' ...and whose chemistry is as evident as their modesty-- allowing the songs to breathe by never over-indulging. Great summer album! This is one that you'll listen to years from now and think back on this time.

groovy

I liked this CD because I am a big fan of Braintree.

Hallelujah! Download Now.

If you were as disappointed in the Arctic Monkeys album as I was, this record is your savior. This album has finally come to the U.S (after being out in the UK for over a year) and it has been worth the wait. It's loaded with great hooks and catchy lyrics. "Hard to Beat" is definitely the catchiest number - I defy you to NOT dance and sing along to this song. Other great tracks: "Gotta Reason," "Feltham is Singing Out" and "Stars of CCTV." This is a very solid album - it completely overshadows the work of overhyped British bands (*cough* Arctic Monkeys *cough*) that have come out recently. Download this now.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in Staines, Middlesex, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Staines, England's Hard-Fi feature Richard Archer (vocals), Ross Philips (guitar), Kai Stephens (bass), and Steve Kemp (drums). The punk-inspired indie rock quintet formed in 2002; they feature a brash mix of Dexy's Midnight Runners melodies, Franz Ferdinand hooks, and the theatrics of the Dead 60s. Hard-Fi self-released Stars of CCTV in October 2004, and all 500 copies quickly sold out. The U.K. indie imprint Necessary reissued the nine-song nugget the following June. Once again, HARD-Fi got the...
Full Bio
Stars of CCTV, Hard-Fi
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