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Once Upon A Time In The West - Hard-Fi

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk / Artist: Hard-Fi / Audio CD released 2007-09-03 at Atlantic

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      08.05.2011 16:39
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      not bad

      "Once Upon A Time In The West" is the second studio album from the band "Hard-Fi". It was released in 2007. I would say that this album would fit into the 'Indie' or 'Alternative' genres of music and would be good for people who like that sort of music to listen to.

      The album itself is in a case which is yellow, much like the first album, only with the words "NO COVER ART." on the front in big white letters. (I was told some albums had the wording in black instead though, although I don't know if that's true or not).

      The tracklisting for this album is as follows:
      "Suburban Knights"
      "I Shall Overcome"
      "Tonight"
      "Watch Me Fall Apart"
      "I Close My Eyes"
      "Television"
      "Help Me Please"
      "Can't Get Along (Without You)"
      "We Need Love"
      "Little Angel"
      "The King"

      The singles released from this album are:
      "Suburban Knights"
      Released: 20 August 2007
      "Can't Get Along (Without You)"
      Released: 12 November 2007
      "I Shall Overcome"
      Released: 16 March 2008

      My favourite songs on this album would include "Suburban Knights", "Can't Get Along (Without You)" and "Help Me Please".

      "Suburban Knights" is probably one of the best known songs from this album. It is an upbeat and happy sounding song which is also quite catchy. I found that I liked it more every time that I listened to it. As with many songs by "Hard-Fi" the lyrics are about every day things that people would go through and this makes the song associate easily with it's audience. An example of this sort of lyric in this song would be "bills keep dropping through my door". With the current economic climate, I think many people would associate with that and feel empathy towards the character from the song.

      "Can't Get Along (Without You)" is another of my favourite songs on this album. It is also quite well known, given that it was released shortly after the first hit. This song is also about real life events. This one centres around the idea that it is hard to cope with being dumped or not being in a relationship with someone any more which is quite a common topic but I think this song tackles it in a slightly different way, showing the raw angry emotions associated with break ups.

      "Help Me Please" on the other hand is a much slower and sadder song than the others on this album. It's about someone no longer being there and you being left alone all of a sudden with nobody there to help you. It's another song that is about real life events and I think the way "Hard-Fi" uses real life events to centre their songs on makes them better than if the events were just love like most other bands.

      Overall, I think that this album isn't bad. I must admit I preferred their first album but this one is also pretty good.

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      17.01.2010 20:56
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      If you liked the bands debut you'll like this

      One of the most under-rated albums of recent memory was the debut album by Hard Fi "Stars Of CCTV", they then followed this up with the bands second album in 2007 "Once Upon A Time In The West" which, like their first album, reached #1 in the UK charts though seemed to leave a much smaller impression on the pop scene in the UK. The 4 man band, lead by Richard Archer had found success twice with out the band becoming a huge success, though how good was this album? Was it up there with the bands debut or not? In fact was it up there with similar contemporary bands such a Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys and Razorlight who all too regularly seemed to fail to repeat their success (of quality, not sales) in their second album.

      First to stop any confusion the album version I have is the one released on Amazon's MP3 service, which would appear to be the 7digital album version which has 3 songs not available on the CD. The iTunes version of the album actually has several other bonus tracks, however the "CD version of the album features it's own bonuses in the form of a microsite with some videos which actually makes the 7digital version the worst...

      The album starts with "Suburban Knights" (Album Version) which is much like the tracks form their earlier release with a toe tapping beat and an almost elctro-indie feel to it all. The vocals, again by Archer are delivered in a wonderful style and you'll quickly find yourself immersed in this album almost as quickly as you were with the last, the opening track getting you nodding your head straight away. Although not as good as "Cash Machine" from the bands first album, it's not a bad single to start and was probably one of the most well known tracks having reached #7 in the UK charts on downloads alone.

      "I Shall Overcome" follows up and is one of the most outstanding songs on the album from a trivia point of view having reached #4 in the Peruvian charts and #35 in the UK charts the actual album version is one of several and is about Archers dad who believed in the band before they made it. The track it's self is catchy and tight with a vocal you'll find yourself singing along to with out realising it whilst the backing vocals are much more prominent than they are on many of the other tracks. From a boxing fan's point of view the video is also of interest as it features a Raging Bull style boxing contest filmed in black and white and was filmed in a boxing Gym as the.

      The third track is "Tonight" which takes a much softer approach than the earlier two songs, and in fact could arguably be the albums balled, lead by a strong piano and Archers vocal. The lyrics seem to be about night time though the fact that the track feels so different sets it apart from much of the rest of the album and piano really drives the track. The vocals are catchy yet well delivered, in one of the albums true stand out tracks. For fans of the band this may feel a little bit of an odd track though in it's own right it's a truly wonderful song.

      "Watch Me Fall Apart" goes back to sounding like much of the earlier album, though with a darker and murkier undertone whilst remaining toe-tappingly addictive from the beat the track is a throw back to the original album rather than anything new. To some that may seem like a negative but I was a huge fan of the first album, so it's meant as some what a back handed compliment. Funnily this has a rather similar feel to it as some of the latter day Lightning Seeds tracks (not their newest stuff) where they started to go more electro.

      "I Close My Eyes" not one of the better tracks as it feels rather distorted and sadly it leads to much of the bands clarity and wonderful styling being lost. The song does have it's moment s though is a huge step back musically from many of the other tracks and it's so distorted that Archer's usually perfect vocals actually sound poor. One to skip through.

      "Television" goes back to a piano based song and is pretty much this albums answer to "Move On From" the first album, clever lyrics with a slightly slowed down verse but an irritatingly catchy chorus that will see you singing along with. Thankfully the band get back to their best here and it shows as they go back to being clear, catchy and addictive and even slightly political...the bands strong point of their first album was, of course the social commentary of the lyrics.

      "Help Me please" a softer track that was written as a tribute to Archer's mother who, and seems to celebrate her life as well as pointing out how lost and alone he feels with out her in his life. The most emotional song on the album by quite some way and sadly that shows with it being a genuinely great tribute. The lyrics do a lot of justice to feeling of missing someone and so you may end up oddly feeling yourself well up though the fact it works as a song so well, when perhaps it shouldn't is just a testament to the band. A brilliant slower track.

      "Can't Get Along [Without You]" a return to the catchy faster paced indie rock of the majority of the album after the slower track that came before it. A happy feeling to the music is juxtaposed with slightly humorous lyrics and is possibly not meant to sound quite as happy as it does. You'll almost certainly see yourself being taken up in the verse which is incessantly catchy and talks about a guy not being able to live normally with out his girlfriend (or rather his ex).

      "We Need Love" sounds like a very retro style sort of track musically, very electro dance orientated musically whilst the lyrics have quite a dark undertone and are wonderfully sung by Archer. Definite political undertones are apparent as the song seems to be talking about the fact that all the world needs is love, not more hatred and anger against each other, the suspicion and political views spread by people with hateful intentions isn't the way forward. A good track that fails to stand out musically though lyrically it's one of the best tracks on the album.

      "Little Angel" is another throw back track to the bands first album a heavier sound perhaps than many of the tracks on there with a wonderful bit of brass instruments in it as the song sounds like controlled chaos. Though it's not the finest example of Archer's vocals it's one of the most catchy and high energy tracks on the album, helped by having rather simple lyrics that you'll pick up and nod your head to. As far as indie dance clubs are concerned this is the perfect song for such a place.

      The final track on the 11 song CD version is "The King" a slower track that's lead by Archer's vocals which take centre stage and never relent. The chorus is nothing short of an addiction as the protagonist of the track tries to get in touch with a former love who he know has gone and changed her number and the such. Much like the man who has tried to get out of the small pond only to find everything has changed in absence and questions about the girl remains. A great ending to the album if you do have the CD version and a track that will end up with you wanting to listen to the original album by the band.

      The bonus tracks on the 7digital version then...
      The first is an acoustic of "Tonight" which sees the track completely stripped bare and has a rather poignant feel to it with Archer playing the song amazingly with slight backing vocals, a guitar and his own skill. For many it may not be what they want of a bonus track, though it's hard to complain hen it's this good.

      The other 2 bonus tracks are both different versions of "Suburban Knights". The first is an acoustic which although not as good as the previous track for the acoustic sound is brilliant and sees the albums opening track slowed down and re-done wonderfully and shortened by about 1 minute. The second is a version called "Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso Mix" and is a dance club version of the track which lasts over 8 minutes. It may to some be there thing but the indie fans will dislike it instantly as it takes little other than samples from the original track and fills it with what some may feel is a dull and repetitive musically sound. Not my cup of tea personally.

      Overall the album is a fantastic follow up to the outstanding "Stars of CCTV" though it does have a weak link or two it's overall a very solid album and is well worth buying if you enjoyed the first one. The band do explore their musical abilities much more here than they did in their original album which adds something here though you get the feeling that their third album is bound to be something spectacular and is currently pencilled in for a release later this year.

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        21.05.2009 16:24
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        If you dont expect too much, you might just like them!

        For an averagely talented British (Staines) indie-punk rock quintet, they aren't that bad. It goes without saying that if you dont think anything of a band in the first place then they cant dissapoint you. And this is certainly true of this album released in September 2007.

        In sound they arent really original, bit like Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian and lyrically they aren't that different either. But there music is listenable and has some really interesting bits of almost spanish sounding guitar riffs and sometimes reggae sounding beats mixed with great string meddlies. In songs like 'Tongiht' the vocals start out with a definitely charming and viceral quality but once the chorus has kicked in, the song seems to sag (although in my opinion this is the best song on the album). Another redeeming song on this album is 'Watch me fall apart'. Which I think is really good and definitely has something promising about it. These songs remind me that they are definitely better than Bloc Party for example but then songs like 'I close my eyes' just counter act that.

        Although I want to like this band, I cant quite convince myself too. I sometimes have the feeling that guys in their early twenties would really love this band: guys who like Oasis and such like may fall mercy to their charms. They definitely do have some talent but just in my opinion not enough to quite lift them off the ground.

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        03.09.2008 14:11
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        'Once Upon A Time In The West' is not worth wasting the time listening to.

        'Once Upon a Time in the West' is the second studio album from the English indie rock band that is Hard-Fi. The band released its debut effort 'Stars of CCTV' in 2005 and this second album then followed in 2007 once more released through Warner Music. The album consists of 11 tracks and this therefore provides for 38 minutes of music. I wasn't sure what to expect with this second album from Hard-Fi; the band's first album was okay but nothing particularly special and I was therefore hoping that things would improve markedly with album number two.

        The album begins quite well with lead single 'Suburban Knights', things quickly go downhill from here however and before you know it the tracks are all rolling into one and you can never quite tell where one track ends and the next begins. It's a pretty bog standard indie rock album, there's nothing particularly special about the music at all and nothing that that really makes the tracks ever stand out. As I say though; 'Suburban Knights' provides the album with a pretty decent opening number and has an excellent chorus to sing along to here. It's not perfect, it's the best track of the lot however and the track with which the band's sound is best put across here. Hard-Fi has never been a particularly groundbreaking band, 'Stars of CCTV' did however come complete with a number of infectious indie anthems and none of that can really be found here with album number two.

        One track that does here sound a little bit different is that of 'Tonight'; vocally the track reminds me a little of Robbie Williams, instrumentally also it sounds like nothing more than a Robbie Williams album track in fact. The music lacks power, and I can't help but think of Robbie Williams every time I hear this one; not Robbie Williams at his best mind, more like Robbie Williams at his absolute worst.

        There's very little present on this album which ever really grabs your interest; the tracks pass by and you're left wondering when the next half decent track may come. Sadly, by the time the end of the album is reached you begin to realise that 'Once Upon a Time in the West' peaks far too soon with its first track and it's then all downhill from that point onwards. Aside from 'Suburban Knights' it's only really 'Can't Get Along (Without You)' that grabs me from this album, it's quite a soulful little number and although quite boring to listen to on the whole is still the second best track that this album has to offer. It's quite bland in its progression, it has some decent instrumental elements however and it is these that make the music vaguely enjoyable to listen to here.

        If you're looking for an action packed indie rock album then do yourselves a favour and look elsewhere; this second Hard-Fi effort just isn't very good, and unless you have some serious sleep problems and are looking for a potential cure for your insomnia then 'Once Upon a Time in the West' isn't really worth wasting your time over. 'Once Upon a Time in the West' is one of the most painfully dull albums I've ever had the misfortune of listening to in my life, it's most definitely for the best to avoid this album and taking the time to listen to it is certainly not recommended. Give 'Suburban Knights' a go, avoid the rest at all costs however and never be tempted to purchase this album however cheap its price may be.


        Label: Warner Music
        Release Date: September 3rd 2007

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          13.08.2008 18:41

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          Hard-Fi's follow up to their brilliant debut album is a huge let down.

          Once Upon A Time In The West is the second album from Surrey based indie band Hard-Fi. Stars Of CCTV, the band's first album (released in 2005) was hugely successful. It was voted the album of the year in the NME and was nominated for two Brit awards and the Mercury Prize.
          Although it reached #1 in the album charts on its release Once Upon A Time In The West will always exist in the shadow of Stars Of CCTV. Ironically the album's opening track Surburban Knights continues with the sound used so successfully on the aforementioned record but after this promising start only I Shall Overcome Me really uses this sound.
          The rest of the record is a lot more slow-paced and ballady than Stars On CCTV. There is a lot of piano in there which doesn't really work for me. Watch Me Fall Apart (which features a string section and what sounds like a choir) maybe being an exception.
          During Once Upon A Time In The West you're pining for a Tied Up Too Tight or Hard To Beat to come along but it never happens. These tunes would stay in your head for days but you can't do that with the likes of Can't Get Along Without You and The King.
          Regrettably Once Upon A Time In The West is the sort of album where you would play a few tracks, get bored and end up going back to their first album. Once Upon A Time In The West is Hard-Fi's Empire (Kasabian's almost as disappointing second album). Hard-Fi's next album is going to be so crucial. It will make or break them.

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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Suburban Knights
        2 I Shall Overcome
        3 Tonight
        4 Watch Me Fall Apart
        5 I Close My Eyes
        6 Television
        7 Help Me Pleas
        8 Can't Get Along
        9 We Need Love
        10 Little Angel
        11 The King