From what must surely have started as a bit of a goof has sprung one of the best records of the first quarter of 2015. Hard Left, featuring members of Boyracer, Black Tambourine, and Lunchbox, are about to drop the appropriately named We Are Hard Left and it's a blistering-yet-hummable slab of 14 leftist anthems. Lest that scare you aware, I should also add that there are riffs here every bit as catchy as those on Minor Threat records from the early 1980s.
"Hard Left Rules OK" is a shouty jam -- and it's got whistling in it too! -- that rides a truly infectious lick around the block. One imagines a band of workers marching behind this. Or just folks who long for the glory days of oi rock.
"Chant No. 1" employs a nearly-glam stomp to segue into the sublime "Hand in Hand" which manages to recall the boot-steps of "Holidays in the Sun" even as it rouses the workers from their slumber.
Amid the rush of 14 songs in little under a half of an hour, there are a few gems that already seem like familiar classics ("Kicking It Off") and a few that fly past almost too quickly ("Exhortation No. 1") but each song here rises above its origin as perhaps a sort of tribute to earlier punk rock legends. If Hard Left were trying to pay tribute to that first flush of DIY spirit in the UK, they've done an amazing job. These 14 tunes, by and large, feel like classics. It's as if you found a "singles compilation" from an obscure punk group in the bin. You might not know every cut but the songs quickly find their way into heavy rotation in your life. That's sort of what happens after you play We Are Hard Left.
Get this one as soon as it's released on the format of your choice, spin it at least twice, and then realize that "We're All Hard Left", as the final cut proclaims in its punk-Devo-esque manner.
Follow Hard Left on their official Facebook page.