Stars of CCTV
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Hard-Fi are the product of their suburban West London environment; the sound of twenty-something gun-slingers on the minimum wage. Stars Of CCTV, their debut album, is the sound of a band weaned on the heady concrete glamour of The Clash, Dexys, and Happy Mondays - of thuggish attitude-drenched anthems of modern living and hometown ennui.
Road-tested in a car speeding the mean streets of Staines, Stars Of CCTV - the debut album from Middlesexs Hard-Fi consciously sets out to update the sense of frustrated tension and suburban dread that powered second-wave ska acts like The Specials and The Beat back at the close of the 70s.
Dont get it twisted, this isnt ska-punk a la Brit troupers [Spunge] and Capdown: Hard-Fi play this music lean and moody, like The Streets on downers, or Massive Attack plugging in and tuning up. "Cash Machine" sees a swallowed debit card as the jump-off for vocalist Richard Archer to spin a tale of crushing poverty and unwanted pregnancy, spurred along by thrumming dub bass and the sad wheeze of a vibraphone. They do upbeat as well, as club anthem "Hard To Beat" a heart-fluttering composite of Northern Soul elation and fist-pumping Rockers reggae joyfully confirms. But its the emotional struggle, the ups and downs of life, that keeps Stars Of CCTV engaging throughout: see penultimate track "Living For The Weekend", a hedonistic blast filled with not a little of the passion that fuelled Oasis Definitely Maybe, which succeeds chiefly because its all too aware of the bad times as well as the good. --Louis Pattison
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
When I was listening to hit I was waiting to hear the/a filler track but instead I got quality song after quality song. I can't find fault with this album at all.
Richard Archer may well be the best songwriter in Britain today. You'd of heard the brilliant singles 'Cash Machine', 'Tied Up Too Tight' & 'Hard To Beat' but they're surpassed by 'Better Do Better', 'Feltham Is Singing Out' & the title-track 'Stars Of CCTV'. The only stop for breath comes with ballad 'Move On Now' which is another top track.
Musically I find it really hard to catergorise Hard-Fi's sound. Think rock, dance, ska, pop, the lot. Lyrically they're argubaly the best around at the moment. Like The Streets only, well, good. It would of been nice to have the lyrics in the album sleeve but if that's the only fault of this otherwise awseome record then I'm sure you don't need any more persuasion to buy it. I really hope this wins the Mercury Prize, it deseves it.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this album for a specific song, but all in all a good overall listenPublished 3 months ago by SC
Sort of punk reggae with narrative lyrics and terrific, committed performances from the band. Accomplished songwriting too. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dan Smith
one of the best debut cd's of all time. not a bad song on here. they really should have ben massive.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bought on recommendation and for price £3 it is excellent, overall its not bad with a few strand out tracks.Published on 24 Jun. 2013 by jester j