Customer Reviews


108 Reviews
5 star:
 (55)
4 star:
 (29)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the car
When I bought this album I had only actually heard 'Hard To Beat', which I thought was an OK song. The album reviews intrigued me, particularly with the Ska and Clash references. Now this is the only current album on my car stereo - it has a great beat and feel that makes it perfect for August summer evenings with the window down. This is a brillant debut and the hybrid...
Published on 10 Aug 2005 by Steve Horsfall - Author / Writer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Few good tracks
Bought on recommendation and for price 3 it is excellent, overall its not bad with a few strand out tracks.
Published 14 months ago by jester j


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the car, 10 Aug 2005
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
When I bought this album I had only actually heard 'Hard To Beat', which I thought was an OK song. The album reviews intrigued me, particularly with the Ska and Clash references. Now this is the only current album on my car stereo - it has a great beat and feel that makes it perfect for August summer evenings with the window down. This is a brillant debut and the hybrid Clash / Specials remark is spot on ( with a bit of The Jam thrown in, i.e. Living For The Weekend.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A throwback.....but who cares?, 20 July 2005
By 
Gorebrook (Lytham St Annes, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
If anyone buys this purely on the basis of the dancefloor anthem "Hard to Beat" and expects a collection of similar tracks (only one comes close - "Living for the Weekend") the chances are they are going to be disappointed. The track is an absolute gem in it's own right but is in no way solely representative of what is a very tight and exciting debut album.
The CD as a whole isn't totally cohesive, the title track is weak and I'm not convinced over the piano ballad "Move on Now". Probably worth 4.5 stars in my opinion, down to those two "weaker" tracks.
Those two aside though, the rest is absolutely storming. The obvious parallels with the Clash/Specials are spot on, but do you remember either of these bands at their political/vitriolic best? Musically Hard-fi are up there with them. The driving rhythms, dub bass, singalong choruses, even a drop of mellatron ffs!! The vocals are straight from the Strummer/Jones school of London sloganeering. The messages are much more social commentary for the noughties rather than the heavy political sloganeering of the Thatcher era(the Streets comparisons, lyrically, are fair).They are far from a one trick pony though, and although there are certain sounds and themes running through the bulk of the tracks, there is enough diversity to hold your attention.
The singles are initially the tracks that really jump out at you, but after a few plays there are others that are just as strong - Middle Eastern Holiday, Better do Better, Feltham is singing out, Living for the weekend etc.
"Q" dubbed them the next major British band. Time will tell, but I think they'll be there or thereabouts.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Beat? On this evidence, most definitely 'Yes'..., 19 July 2005
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
Having heard 'Cash Machine' on Zane Lowe in the Summer of 2004, I could tell Hard-Fi was destined for great things. Having seen them perform at King's College last month, I can confirm I was totally correct - they blew me away...and were genuinely lovely guys to boot.
'Stars of CCTV' was definitely worth the wait. Much like the band Dum Dums from a good few years back, Hard-Fi sing about the few perks and many perils of growing up in a crap town - however this offering isn't only about the standard money/girl problems.
Here's my brief guide to the tracks:
1. Cash Machine - Fantastic moody bassline to a strong song, with inspired lyrics about an unwanted pregnancy whilst in financial turmoil. Ought to be re-released as well as being given to a DJ (potential for an awesome remix).
2. Middle Eastern Holiday - A bit strange on the first listen, but really grows on you. Now one of my favourites. Moves at pace, again with strong lyrics from frontman Richard Archer; describing some peers taking up arms for the Iraq war whilst others continue their mundane routine of life in the suburbs.
3. Tied Up Too Tight - Catchy hook with singalong 'La la la la la laaaa' bits. Wouldn't necessarily have been a single choice for me as I believe there are lyrically stronger songs on here - but musically this is faily upbeat with a random reference to footwear.
4. Gotta Reason - Sounds like the soundtrack to a gang of chavs off to bash up a rival gang of chavs who've 'been on their turf'. They'd be on a mission, and so is this song. Grab your baseball bat and go along for the ride.
5. Hard To Beat - Alternative anthem of the Summer. An upbeat tale of lust and urban romance amongst the concrete and above the whiff of Burberry aftershave. Impossible not to smile and dance around your handbag to.
6. Unnecessary Trouble - Not one of my favourites, doesn't seem to go very far. Slightly ploddy.
7. Move On Now - Really shows Richard Archer's talent as a new Chris Martin. Delicately sung with believable feeling. The ballad describes how hard it is to end a relationship when you still deeply care for the other person, even if ending it is probably better for the both of you in the long-run.
8. Better Do Better - Sung with swagger, you can almost visualise Archer sneering into the microphone as he tells a cheating ex-girlfriend to sling her hook.
9. Feltham Is Singing Out - Another of the weaker tracks, if only because it doesn't show the listener anything new.
10. Living For The Weekend - Should be another single. Stuck in a dead-end job, your only aim is to drink your wages come Friday night. This song just begs you to dance to it, offering a Smirnoff Ice into the bargain.
11. Stars OF CCTV - At first, you may think it was an odd choice to end the album on a comparatively 'downbeat' note, however this again shows that the band can diversify with great success. This ode to a supposedly inevitable descent into petty crime has lush guitars and even better voices.
Overall, I love this album - it didn't get a 5 just because that would leave Hard-Fi nowhere to go. With only 2 possible fillers (and even they are likeable), and fresh lyrics and music, it fully deserves its Mercury nomination.
Buy this album - if just to say you were there at the beginning - and watch them soar.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indie-rock classic, 1 Aug 2007
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
This is an incredibly accomplished debut album - a blistering set of songs with not one dud track amongst them. Weaving together a diverse range of influences, Hard-Fi spin tales of everyday life and love, but they somehow manage to turn this ordinary premise into a collection of tracks unlike anything you've heard before. Their influences encompass everything from traditional Britpop-indie to ska, dub, reggae, pop and dance, informing the nous and flexibility that made 'Hard to Beat', arguably the standout track, a club anthem as well as a festival favourite.

Every track crackles with energy - this is the raw sound of disenchanted youth on the edge of greatness, determined to break out of a grey backwater and head for the bright lights of the city. Anyone who's ever been stuck in a dead-end job will identify with frontman and songwriter Richard Archer's vignettes of everyday working-class life; there's the anguish of being broke on 'Cash Machine', the elation of a new crush on 'Hard to Beat', the bitterness of the subsequent break-up on 'Better Do Better', joy at the prospect of two days and nights of freedom on 'Living for the Weekend'. 'Middle Eastern Holiday' is as fierce and vitriolic an anti-war song as you'll hear anywhere, but like the rest of the tracks, it's written from a heart-wrenchingly personal point of view. Along with 'Feltham is Singing Out', it illustrates Hard-Fi's ability to tackle social issues with breathtaking effectiveness, while skilfully avoiding making their songs into political polemics. The title track is a fitting close to the album - a sublime paean to a world in which every move we make is caught on camera, it all hinges on Archer's sneering refrain of 'can't you see the camera loves me', his voice dripping with sarcasm. It's a song which captures the spirit of the album perfectly.

I can't recommend this stunning record highly enough; it's one of the most affecting, evocative and true-to-life albums I've ever heard. It deserves to be regarded as a true British classic - it's certainly on a par with (if not, dare I say it, better than) Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys' debuts. If this breathtaking album isn't already a part of your collection, it most definitely should be.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Albums Of 2005!, 26 Dec 2005
By 
Mr. C. Day "christopher-day" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
I love this album! Like all the best bands, they've taken a load of diverse influences, (in their case punk, indie, ska, hip hop, disco & more,) mixed them all together and come up with something really original and cool! There's real depth here too, from the full-on, up tempo floor fillers like 'Hard To Beat' to my favourite track, the achingly beautiful 'Move On Now', a gorgeous ballad about the end of a relationship set in the wider context of having outgrown a dead-end town. The simple piano backing showcases Richard Archer's vocals and shows just what a good singer he is.
My one gripe is that the lyrics are a bit too fixated on 'isn't it terrible living in Blair's facist police state?' but hey, they're angry young men, I expect they'll mellow (slightly) with age!
Anyway, all in all a great debut album - buy it, you won't be disappointed!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Soundrack To Everyday Human Life, 25 July 2005
By 
Luke Hardaker (Burton, Pembrokeshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
At last, an album that captures the true spirit of british youth culture. At times the lyrics, when taken out of context may appear depressing, but some how Hard-Fi manage to keep you smiling right through to the end.
I first heard of Hard-Fi about 6 months ago just before they released Tied Up Too Tight, and have been waiting for this moment ever since. It really is hard to pick the stand out tracks, since to me they all work at different times of your life. Whether your skint (cash machine), going out with your mates (living for the weekend), falling in love (hard to beat), or out of love (move on now/better do better), this album really does capture your mood perfectly.
Lyrics as clever as Mike Skinner's (the streets) and musical arrangments that really emphasise the meaning. This album should really get the full five star treatment, but then where would they go neaxt. And I have to belive that this is just a taste and by no means their peak.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!, 20 May 2006
By 
Colin E. Green "colingreen44" (Dumfries,Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
This album is quite simply superb and these guys deserve to be huge. Drawing upon a wide range of influences Hard Fi have put together a debut as good as any you'll ever hear and easily the best album of 2005. Forget the Kaiser Chiefs, Keane and Franz Ferdinand, Hard Fi are better than them all. When can we expect the sequel?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Revitalisation, Highly Recommended, 14 July 2005
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
From the opening "Cash Machine" Hard-Fi sing loud their discontents and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Granted their message is one we've heard many a time before, as mentioned, from bands like 'The Specials' but this a modern revitalisation bringing their own unique touch to the ever-changing ska sound. By the time you reach "Tied up Too Tight" their sound has barely even begun to reach full flow yet already you know this is another big hit. Settling into the middle of the album "Gotta Reason" and "Hard to Beat" provide an upbeat contrast and bring their ska roots shining through.
While the album infectiously gets better with every listen there remains huge optimism as there certainly is room for improvement which leaves space for a sensational follow up album. Just as the album seems to lose direction we're quickly pulled in by the ballad like "Move on Now" which, while not having the lyrical power or sweeping beauty of many accomplished writers, has a startling chill out effect to gently bring the mood back down. "Better Do Better" (My Personal favourite) takes advantage of this break and explodes with heartbreak and resentment alternating between angry choruses and embittered verses all the while preparing us for the up surging "Feltham is Singing Out".
There is a sudden return to the upbeat with "Living for the Weekend" with the same in the club feel as "Hard to Beat" and another likely single for the masses. There is then a placid movement out with the slightly humorous "Stars of CCTV". All in all the throbbing bass lines and varying vocals are well balanced and with a welcoming poise between realism and bright and breezy. The debut from Hard-Fi is a must for almost anybody and is set to be the start of a successful future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 21 Aug 2005
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
One of the best albums of the year that iv heard.
Its hard to say who Hard-Fi are like, as they have a pretty unique style and a good one at that...closest to indie if anything.
Great lyrics, great music, great style...great album.
Cash Machine, Tide Up Too Tight, Hard To Beat, Unnecessary Trouble, Move On Now, Better Do Better, Feltham Is Singing Out, Stars OF CCTV are all brilliant songs, but hey, so are all the songs on this album.
I agreed with the comparison of Hard-Fi to The Streets..."like The Streets except, well, good" on someone else's review.
Buy this album, you wont be disappointed...atleast i wasnt, and the only time id ever heard of them was on an advert on telly for theyr album...i thought it looked alright, i bought it, and its brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely brilliant!!!!!, 17 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Stars of CCTV (Audio CD)
this album is a must for any true music lover. the band have acheived the perfect debut album and i for one cannot get enough of it. A very ska-influenced sound but still very up-to-date and flirts with other sounds at the same time. my favourite has to be hard to beat, but thats very close to cash machine! I would strongly urge you to buy this album - it has gone down well with all my friends and i know i will use it for many parties to come to get everyone going. or, simply whack it in your car, or on your ipod and become as dangerously infactuated (im close to the white coats coming to get me if i go on much more...) with the album as i am!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Stars of CCTV
Stars of CCTV by Hard-Fi (Audio CD - 2005)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews