Hard Fi - 53 Degrees Preston - 27.5.05

Richard Archer is a long way from his home town of Staines (best known for Sacha Baron Cohen's comic creation Ali G). Looking like a better groomed Kelly Jones, Richard is a striking singer, enigmatic and confident that Hard Fi are the only band you need in your lives this year. Their mini-album of last year "Stars On CCTV" is a taste of what's to come when the fully realized debut hit's the shops in a couple of months.

Hard Fi are funky, indie upstarts with an apparent love of ska music like the Dead 60s, but with electronica beats and baggy grooves. The band use three part harmonies and the energetic vibe the band create on stage is nothing short of infectious. "Better Do Better" is a break up song with a spirited display of a melodica solo from the volatile vocalist. He almost spits out the spiteful, bitter lyrics of hurt and despondency with the words "your face makes me want to be sick" making an unforgettable impression of a once blossoming romance turning sour and unpleasant. A dub version of "7 Nation Army" is buffered up with Ross Phillip's dirty, scuzzy blues infested riffs more than a match for the mighty Jack White. This cover respects the original version, but has a overwhelming druggy, trippy feel to it.

The brilliantly underrated single "Tied Up Too Tight" and the bands next single "Hard To Beat" are the jewels in the crowd of Hard-Fi's set. The lairy crowd of boozers, couples and hardcore gig goers are going for it hammers and tongs with the band encouraging the party atmosphere. Closing song (Hard Fi aren't into encores) is the working class anthem "Living For The Weekend" which is about escaping the drudgery of menial jobs and unacceptable wages and embarking on 48 hours of hedonistic, debauchery. At just over 45 minutes it's a criminally short performance and the time flew by, but Hard Fi proves that quality is better than quantity - with not one bad song in the set who are to disagree!!!

Words: Nicholas Paul Godkin
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com

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