ALBUM REVIEW | Hard-Fi: Best of 2004-201428th January 2014
Upon putting Hard-Fi’s greatest hits disc into my CD player I was immediately reminded of why I am such a fan of the band. As one of great underdogs of the music industry in modern times, I have frequently willed them on to succeed. Sadly the commercial success of their early days has not been sustained, but that hasn’t stopped the band releasing some great music.
Although seeing Hard-Fi’s first album Stars of CCTV as their first collection of greatest hits, I welcomed the forthcoming release of the official best of album. It begins at the start of Hard-Fi’s career with the first few songs being the releases from Stars of CCTV. I can recall becoming a fan of the band and championing them, but it took some time for the rest of the public to realise their greatness. Eventually the album sold well and the band were critically acclaimed. With songs that people can relate to, such as ‘Cash Machine’ and ‘Living for the Weekend’, Hard-Fi seemed to come along at just the right time. Forward to ten years later and all of the songs from Stars of CCTV still sound great and relevant to the times we live in.
From there the songs move on to Hard-Fi’s second album Once Upon a Time in the West. Another strong album that reached number one in the charts, spawning hits including ‘Surburban Knights’ and ‘Can’t Get Along’, this section of the hits collection is a further reminder of the band’s ability to craft songs that are real and relatable.
Hard-Fi’s third album Killer Sounds is actually full of just that. Although not as commercially successful as previous efforts, it was still another strong album from the band. Although the singles were not as big as past chart entries, they were critical hits. ‘Good for Nothing’, ‘Fire in the House’ and ‘Bring it on’ are all worthy of their position on the album and demonstrate the band’s skill of crossing genres in their songs. Reggae, dance, rock, and pop are all present here. Perhaps it shouldn’t work, but somehow it works.
The album ends with new song ‘Move Over’, which is a promising taste of things to come as the band work on their fourth album.
Hard-Fi are masters of social realism in their lyrics and this collection of hits is a reminder that the band provide a great soundtrack to the streets of urban Britain. It’s music for working class people that has clearly resonated over the years. Hard-Fi may be underdogs of the music scene, but their songs are better than many other indie-pop bands and this is a five star collection worthy of investing in.