Single Review: Hard-Fi – ‘Fire In The House’

“It’s all elaborately interwoven with care and punk-soaked gumption, resulting in a hybrid dance-punk gem”

4 STARS

Digital Release: August 14, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

An act’s most valuable assets aside from their musicianship and songwriting ability (should the act possess even these apparently dispensable building blocks), are the support team around you, particularly the producers, but only in moderation. Should the act not include themselves enough in the creative process and you could end up with an album like Rihanna’s ‘LOUD’ or Britney’s ‘Femme Fatale’ or a song typical of that producer like Dr. Luke’s ‘TiK ToK’ and ‘California Gurls’, but too much of your own creative input and it seems like your paying for all that extra help for nothing. On ‘Fire In The House’, the second single from their third album (the confidently-titled ‘Killer Sounds’) Staines-born UK band Hard-Fi enlist the production expertise of Stuart Price (Madonna’s ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’, The Killers’ ‘Day & Age’) to put his stamp on the group’s new efforts.

The group masterfully incorporate Price on ‘Fire In The House’, combining Richard Archer’s ingeniously-crafted song-writing skills and Price’s production finesse to birth a dark concoction of bass guitar, erratic synthesisers, screeching strings and a howling harmony of spectral shrieking against Archer’s sky-scraping chorus. Chilling vocal reverberations, distorted blips and sinister samples of ambient noise appearing in the vocal breaks create a song that’s never boring or pausing for breath as it usher’s the listener through an other-worldly four minutes of pulsing rhythms and racing melodies. It’s all elaborately interwoven with care and punk-soaked gumption, resulting in a hybrid dance-punk gem that would slot nicely amongst the best tracks of their first album.

What Hard-Fi have done here, is taken only the necessary skills that Price has brought to the table and helped produced some of their best material to date. The same ingenuity that paraded throughout their first album is returned. It’s the kind of music you could imagine sound-tracking pretty much any pre-Madonna Guy Ritchie film. The heavy synthesisers and scaling melodies, the strings as bass, a unique yet oh-so-familiar mixture of attitude, bravado, musical know-how and atmospheric, Jamiroquai-esque electronica are signature of Hard-Fi, such much so it’d get away with being danceable were it not for the reverberating Britpop sensibilities, though that’s a far cry from something negative, as is ‘Fire In The House’ as a whole.

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