HARD ACTION – HOT WIRED BEAT (SVART RECORDS)
Finnish action rockers Hard Action are set to release their second full-length album Hot Wired Beat on December 1st via Svart Records, aiming to outdo themselves in every way from their first release Sinister Vibes which came out in 2015. From the press release provided to us by Svart Records, “The Hard Action of today is a slightly older, more street-smart, tighter bunch of hairy youngsters. Hot Wired Beat boils with the hot blood of youth but its better musicianship and production values give room for certain more traditional aspects of rock music such as melody and hooks.”
The opener is the aptly-named “Free Fall”. Right away the upbeat guitar riffs come alive and the drums really kick. The whole track has a fun early 70’s vibe to it. “Nothing Ever Changed” isn’t much different, but it’s not so much the same as to be indistinguishable from the other tracks, keeping a nice beat and a good pace. It still has that 70’s feel while dotting in a sort of surf rock riff here and there. “Hostile Street” mixes their signature sound with early 80’s punk undertones. Its only major flaw is that it’s too short, coming in at just under two minutes. Then again, a lot of good punk tunes are short.
“The Losing Side” sounds like an old Rolling Stones jam, catchy as hell with a nice even beat, and a smooth solo graces us with its presence. “Running Start” has lots of groovy riffs and carries on the fun, upbeat energy of the other tracks. I do wish I could make out some of the lyrics, though. Some I can, and some I can’t. It’s hard to find lyrics for an album that isn’t out yet, and I’m sure they’re much deeper than the upbeat nature suggests, but that doesn’t make this any less fun to listen to. “Tied Down” is as energetic a song as any, and I could see John Travolta and Uma Thurman in that 50’s diner dancing to this song instead of Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” if they ever remade Pulp Fiction (Hollywood, please don’t ever remake Pulp Fiction. That movie is pure perfection in every conceivable way.) “Knocked Down, Dragged Out” is another dance-worthy tune, keeping in line with the 70’s rock vibe of the rest of the album. I thought it stopped and a new song kicked on at one point, but it was just a small break in the track.
The final two tracks are “May” and “Tunnel Vision”, the former of which has a very familiar sound, but it’s that kind of familiar where you can’t exactly put your finger on what it is. The same traits from previous tracks carry over here, with a key difference being that this track has more of an even beat. “Tunnel Vision” kicks off with a slick solo and is produced in such a way that it sounds like this song was actually recorded back in the 70’s. Probably one of the most energetic tracks on the record (which really says something), it’s also one of the best – musically speaking.
I always love it when modern bands embrace the styles of the past, giving homage to the greats. Hard Action have done that well here with Hard Wired Beat, an album that sounds great not only from a musical and production standpoint, but is also incredibly fun to listen to. There’s not really any variation in musical style from track to track, but not every track sounds the same either. If you’re a fan of 70’s rock at all, or just a fan of songs that are fun to listen to, you will absolutely love this album. Final score: 4.5 out of 5 axes
01. ‘Free Fall’
02. ‘Nothing Ever Changed’
03. ‘Hostile Street’
04. ‘The Losing Side’
05. ‘Running Start’
06. ‘Tied Down’
07. ‘Knocked Down, Dragged Out’
09. ‘Tunnel Vision’
Markus – Drums