Hard-Fi : Hard To Beat

A great deal better than the fucking Clash. Official!

Hard-Fi are regularly compared to The Clash (surely the most over-rated fucking pop group of all time) because – hey! – they’re from west London. Except HF’s west London means Staines, which is so west it’s almost Cornwall. They, like The Clash, affect an outsider, street-level chic that means their sleeves feature broken-down old vans and graffiti’d bridges, but six months ago, half of HF were still working for Rentokil. Like The Clash, they clearly love all sorts of great black music, but, unlike The Clash, HF can work in live disco drums, scratchy ska guitars and a chorus that sounds like Usher with a hangover without sounding like poshos after their first spliff. And, most crucially, Hard-Fi, unlike The Clash, sound like they’ve actually had sex with someone other than themselves.

Hard-Fi clearly love Fabolous as much as AC/DC, they’re clearly as close to The Streets as they are to the streets. ‘Hard To Beat’ is a love story, full of male braggadocio and wonder at the city that’s unfurling around them. Richard Archer’s tale of being wide-eyed, legless and out on the pull is the oldest story ever told, but he makes it feel as box-fresh as his Adidas. Hard to beat? Nah, mate, impossible…

Rob Fitzpatrick