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CD Review: HARD-ONS – Love Is A Battlefield Of Broken Hearts [Expanded Reissue]

| 8 November 2013 | Reply

HARD-ONS – Love Is A Battlefield Of Broken Hearts [Expanded Reissue]
Citadel Records, November 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Hard-Ons - Love Is A Battlefield Of Wounded Hearts CD

1988 saw the Hard-Ons ready to record full length album number two, and coming off the raw, punk onslaught – and often deliberately offensive lyrics – of Dickcheese, they had something to prove.

But it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing the whole way – Waterfront Records rejected their first attempt, nine tracks which were to be called Kids In Satanic Service, and rightly so as they sound flat and less dynamic than the eventual album.

These tracks are presented here, alongside another session, a handful of demos, three tracks from the very hard to find 5th Anniversary Giveaway 7” single and the Just Being With You/Growing Old 7” single – 32 tracks in all, and that’s just on disc one!

That last mentioned single might just be the best recorded example of the Hard-Ons early sound, full and rich and the perfect balance of metal crunch, punk attitude and pop melody. This is what they did better than anyone.

Love Is A Battlefield Of Broken Dreams arguably saw the band at their songwriting peak – Don’t Wanna See You Cry, Rejected, You’re A Tease, Who Do You Wanna Fool, Do It With You, Missing You Missing Me all throb with vitality and hooks and power. Let’s not forget that these were young guys living the dream – Get Wet, Rich Scrag, Kill Your Mum all showcased their sense of humour and musical nouse.

Disc 2 is 29 more tracks – demos, a live to air session from Triple J radio, and a wealth of tracks culled from several 1989 gigs – it’s wild and frenetic stuff and puts the songs in context again for those of us lucky enough to have been there at the time buying the vinyl and seeing them live: same band, same energy, same irresistible melodies, but like The Ramones, everything played ten times faster, the sweat and feedback practically dripping out through the speakers even now.

As Blackie, Ray Ahn and manager Tim Pittman all mention in their copious touching, brutally honest and oft-hilarious liner notes, the band were oblivious to fashions and trends – they just didn’t give a fuck. All they truly loved was the music, and it shows: they were a unique band, forging a totally original path and sound and it’s no wonder they went on to influence many.

The essence of the Hard-Ons has always been about playing music to please themselves, and those that dig it will dig it. As Ray comments in the enclosed booklet, trying to explain about the underground music scene to a suit he used to go to school with “was difficult. It was like trying to explain sex to a nun.”

There’s no middle ground to the Hard-Ons. You either understand them or you don’t, and to those that do, this may well be the best reissue series of the year, bar none.

Category: CD Reviews

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