Hard-Fi are approaching a dramatic new apex in their career. Critically acclaimed, commercially successful and tower block tall, the West London four-piece continue to reinvigorate music with raw, category-defying sounds and instant, merciless beats. Neither bound by musical restriction or industry expectation, they follow their blazing, genre-defining Number 1 debut ‘Stars of CCTV’ with the eagerly anticipated ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’, September 3rd. In short, Hard-Fi are the sound of now.
Written by frontman Richard Archer and co-produced by Richard with Wolsey White, it’s a landmark LP of scopic, wide-eyed, unrepressed tracks. Mixed by Spike Stent (U2, Bjork & Madonna), it’s their second studio album and their most cohesive, definitive release to date. Boasting 12 killer anthems, including the blistering new single ‘Suburban Knights’, August 20th, it’s truly hard to beat.
Born from the kitchen sink fatalism of Staines in 2002, Hard-Fi - Richard Archer (vocals), Ross Phillips (guitar), Kai Stephens (bass) and Steven Kemp (drums) - have emerged from suburbia triumphant. After recording their dazzling debut in the ultimate brokedown palace – a dilapidated taxi rank that cost £300 in rent – it matured into a DIY triumph that propelled them into the A-list. Selling nearly 1 million UK copies and soaring to Number 1, it spurned the radio mainstay hit singles: ‘Cash Machine’, ‘Hard To Beat’ & ‘Living For The Weekend’.
Nominated for the 2005 Mercury Music Prize and Best British Group at the 2006 BRITs, their defiance paid off. In a matter of months Hard-Fi had shapeshifted into one of Britain’s biggest bands. Their first major tour sold out in a record 15 minutes and saw them play London's Brixton Academy for 5 consecutive nights - making them one of the few bands to do so alongside The Clash, Bob Dylan &The Prodigy - plus the only act to do it with their debut album.
Standout tracks include the 70’s SKA-inspired ‘We Need Love’, and ‘Tonight’. “The latter is a big piano-driven number – it had a few incarnations before it became what it is, but it’s about the possibility of night time. History is made at night.” Meanwhile, the former harks back to the Specials and was inspired by Billy Bragg’s acclaimed novella ‘The Progressive Patriot’. Other highlights include the rousing R&B swagger of ‘Can’t Get Along’ with its stomping Motown lilt, the stark fragility of ‘Help Me Please’ – a track written about the death of Richard’s mother – plus, ‘I Shall Overcome’ which echoes an early Clash while remaining truly, unmistakably Hard-Fi, and the lead single ‘Suburban Knights’.
Hard Fi’s tracks