We Are Hard Left is the debut album from Hard Left. Brought together by the music, held together by the outrage -- Hard Left are a hard-mod/punk band borne out of a desire to explore leftist political ideas and marry them to rabble-rousing music worthy of the worldwide struggle against capital. Far from a dry exercise in doctrinaire thought, Hard Left's songs are great punk first and foremost, and ripping good fun.
The band members have been involved with punk and DIY music for nearly a century combined, including time in bands like Boyracer, Jüke, Whorl, Lunchbox and Black Tambourine, and operating the respected labels 555, Emotional Response and Slumberland Records. Initial Hard Left recording sessions in Spring 2014 led to the release of two limited edition lathe-cut singles, the Situationist-inspired "What's That Sound?" and the tough-as-nails "Safety." The band set to writing and in August 2014 gathered in the desert of Flagstaff, AZ to record.
The results were two more singles ("Skinheads Home For Christmas" and a split 7" with Bad Daddies, both released in December 2014), and now this album. We Are Hard Left is a concise and explosive punk record, packed with anthems of resistance and calls to action. These are crucial times that we live in, and Hard Left seek to inspire and invigorate. The opener "New Year" sets out the band's stall in fine fashion, urging listeners to "give up false needs" and embrace new beginnings.
They follow with the blasting "Hard Left Rules OK," a call to arms if ever there was one. The album is tightly edited, each song on the heels of the previous one, exemplifying the group's eagerness to broadcast their message and energize their fans. To that end, rousing chants and noisy interludes are interspersed throughout, cheeky but pointed references to their mod forebears and street-level terrace "politics."
The message is always positive, the underlying mood is of hopefulness. "Hand In Hand" is an exhilarating call for solidarity and collective action, while "Future Perfect" imagines a world where the people were the true beneficiaries of the surplus created by progress, the perfect future we were all promised during the golden age of capitalism. Previous singles "Safety" and "Stay True" appear in re-recorded form, hard as nails and fitting in perfectly.
From the super-tough "Kicking If Off" to the Occupy-inspired "Red Flag" and the supremely uplifting (and also Situationistinspired) closer "Imagination," this is a record that hits hard, crammed with guitars that soar and rage, group chants and raw-throated vocals. It's anthemic in the best way - inspiring but never heavy-handed, a worthy successor to records by bands like The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Sex Pistols and The Dils.
Call it "utopian Oi" if you will, or "hard mod" or just plain punk, but don't miss out on this passionate, thrilling record.
1. New Year
2. Hard Left Rules OK
3. Chant No. 1
4. Hand In Hand
5. Future Perfect
6. Stay True
7. Exhortation No. 1
8. Kicking If Off
10. Red Flag
11. Chant No. 2
14. We Are All Hard Left