Is it possible that the angular art-rock revival has an astonishingly short half-life? Upon listening to Staines, England’s Hard-Fi’s debut Stars Of CCTV, you might be inclined to think so—cribbing from Franz Ferdinand’s sonic playbook (with a healthy dose of fellow revivalists Dead 60s, Kasabian, and—why not?—Kaiser Chiefs thrown in), Hard-Fi builds roiling, angsty anthems built upon Richard Archer’s stark evocations of life in suburban London. Not that you should necessarily confuse Hard-Fi with a band content to toil away in obscurity; quoth Archer in the band’s press materials: “I wanna be successful. I don’t see the point in being just another fuckin’ indie band, I wanna sell records in the States…I’m in competition with fuckin’ Eminem. What’s the point of being parochial and small-time? You’ve got to think big.” Mission accomplished, Richard. Stars Of CCTV has made a splash Stateside, thanks in no small part to the aforementioned synthesis of zeitgeist-grabbing bands such as Kasabian and Franz. “Tied Up Too Tight” and “Middle Eastern Holiday” are but a couple of the jaggedly memorable cuts here. Whether Hard-Fi maintains any American momentum beyond this initial blast is difficult to say; given the extraordinarily brief shelf life of most imported art-rockers these days, these currently bright Stars could flame out tomorrow.
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