It seems as though England is constantly churning out the next big thing. For such a small country, the talent that emerges from the U.K.is truly amazing. For its part, the rest of the world listens attentively, ready to digest the latest export. Hard-Fi is no different and after reading many glowing reviews of their debut, Stars of CCTV, we awaited their impending takeover of rock ‘n’ roll as we knew it. After many a listen, however, we’re still reaching to find out what the hype is all about regarding these four suburban London boys.Hard-Fi depends on weighty riffs mixed in with dashes of digital mixing to produce snotty, blue-collar tracks that reflect the band members’ working-class lives and the curveballs such a life throws. Their reggae-inflected rock reflects their musical surroundings, with “Middle Eastern Holiday” and “Better Do Better” echoing traces of The Specials and The Police. Yet such tracks don’t mirror the band’s status. Only on a song like “Tied Up Too Tight” does Hard-Fi’s potential shine through with eerie guitar strumming and dramatic synthesizer swoops. Unfortunately, said song is lost in a sea of mediocre, albeit decent work.
From the outset of their journey to the heights of British musical royalty, Hard-Fi has already been compared to the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, etc. For all the talking and touting, however, Stars of CCTV fails to live up to such lauding. Stars is a run-of-the-mill rock album that simply reproduces sounds tried and true, but fails to deliver anything groundbreaking or infectiously catching. If one is looking for the next “Take Me Out,”Â¬Ã¹ you’re better off listening to the real thing.