The Hard-Ons have remained one of the most influential Australian punk bands for decades on end. Following the recruitment of beloved rock ‘n’ roll singer Tim Rogers the group have just released their thirteenth studio album, ‘I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken’.
The record kickstarts with ‘Hold Tight’, an exultant number that seems to encompass the ecstatic ties that are bound with new releases. Steadily compact drums and driving guitars lead the charge while Rogers’ voice rises above the mix with slap back silkiness and unwavering devotion, welcoming the listener with a familiar and attention-grabbing level of dexterity.
‘Fucked-up Party’ ramps up the intensity with rapid pace and thrashing riffage, showcasing the grit that the group have preserved and delivered their remarkable discography. There’s something deeply nostalgic and refreshing in the natural energy it emanates, an overriding all-consuming burst of old-school punk. This vivacity continues with the offering of ‘Pucker Up’, both tracks flaunting a frenetic and angsty aroma, able to perfectly soundtrack a sweaty underground club as a comprehensive crowd moshes and dances to the band’s feverish antics.
The band’s capacity for multiplicity and variety is spotlighted with ‘Lite As A Feather’, with harmonies simmering on top of hooks, balanced bass and unequivocal guitars, written with an assured level of charisma and magnetism. It’s uplifting yet tumultuous in the greatest way, as the band switches between direct tightness and colourful polyphony for an emphatic outro.
‘Back Pack Sweat’ buzzes and thrills with pure strength and fury while ‘Frequencies’ thunders with depth and dimension, converting the vigour of their unaltering live show into a four and a half minute cacophony of razor sharp bass and gritty vocals, punctuated with distorted intricacies throughout.
The Hard-Ons not only make it apparent they are relishing themselves but are showing their breadth and aptitude for dynamism and contrast. The singalong moments of ‘Home Sweet Home’ display the captivation that could bring a family of generations to a dance floor, while ‘Humiliated / Humiliator’ rapidly changes the scenery with untainted tenacity, rolling back the years with virtues of 80’s skate punk and metal.
Continuing the rush of short and brusque songs, ‘The Laws of Gossip’ blends enormous instrumentation with suave hooks and subtle harmonies, while ‘Needles and Pins’ presents a silkier, matured approach to song writing, with the inclusion of layered minutiae including bells and group vocals. ‘Shove It Down’ is a cathartic quick release of rapid riffage and thrashing percussion, before the wrathful introduction of ‘Shoot Me In The Back’ prepares us for a liberating finale, maintaining a high tempo with enveloped authority, and layering the production with apoplectic polyphony that simmers exquisitely for the conclusive result.
‘I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken’ is an ephemeral yet all-embracing collection of songs that luminously capture The Hard-Ons’ enthusiasm and perseverance. Episodes of thunderous chaos unite with the warmth of refreshing elasticity, culminating an entertaining and enthralling record that conveys the virtuosity of a band that continues to impress audiences of avid punk listeners.
You can download and stream the album here.
The Hard-On’s will embark on a national tour across March and April 2022. Details below:
Thu 17 – Southport, Vinnie’s Dive – tickets here
Fri 18 – Brisbane, The Zoo “Punkfest” – tickets here
Sat 19 – Eltham, Eltham Hotel – tickets here
Fri 25 – Narrabeen, Narrabeen RSL – tickets here
Sat 26 – Newcastle, The Cambridge Hotel – tickets here
Sun 27 – Wollongong, La La La’s – tickets here
Thu 31 – Canberra, The Basement – tickets here
Sat 2 – Adelaide, Enigma Bar – tickets here
Thu 7 – Geelong, Barwon Club – tickets here
Fri 8 – St Kilda, Gershwin Room @ The Espy – tickets here
Sat 9 – Melbourne, Corner Hotel – tickets here