The Hacks - On Record With...
Owain Paciuszko 30/09/2010
South Westerly 'punk and roll' from this three piece on their debut ep. It opens with I'll See You Right which is heavily influenced by rockabilly, it's chugging guitar over a splashy, pacy drum line and hollered backing vocals. Meanwhile Up Sticks is more of a classic rock mixed with indie and country, it's a far more successful effort than the opener, coming across a touch Molly's Chambers Kings of Leon but with unmistakably anglo-rock vocals.
Stand Down sounds like The Automatic covering Rock N Roll-era Ryan Adams with surf-licks thrown in for good measure, it's safe to say that this band genre-blend with reasonable success, chucking in little asides that make the songs perk up every now and again; but the driving force of a lot of their tunes isn't as inventive or memorable as their tangents.
Howard Michaels' drums at the start of That Girl are great, it's just a shame that the punk-pop romantic song wrapped around it is so lacklustre, like Blink 182 being serious and thusly boring. Country stomp I Won't Feel Bad picks things up, Tommy Murdock's bass doing a good one-two swagger, though a little more gravel in his vocals wouldn't go amiss. This is the kind of country-rock by numbers that it's almost impossible not to barn dance to, it's kind of good by default in that its just a fun standard played well; it's one of the few songs on the ep where The Hacks seem content to not try and mix things up, it's a fine tune but experimentation wouldn't go amiss to give them more of their own identity.
While Falling Behind squeezes a kind of Bill Haley and His Comets vibe through a Billy Idol filter with entertaining results, it further reinforces the fact that whilst The Hacks are a good fun band they seem like the type of band that'd go down well at a party or a gig that you went to more for the drink than the acts. What prevents them from being something totally worthwhile off of their own backs is that their music is anonymous, it distorts the old style to the extent that it adds a fuzzbox to proceedings, but doesn't warp the past into something that you'd say; "Hey, that sounds like The Hacks." Instead you'd say; "Hey, that sounds like Bill Haley and Billy Idol!"