London's Hard Skin presents their second LP, Same Meat Different Gravy, a self-proclaimed Oi/Skinhead Satirist album, which is also a follow up to their 1996 debut album, Hard Nuts & Hard Cunts.
I can't help but think that Hard Skin might be past their prime. Same Meat Different Gravy is a throwback to the days of old school punk rock that takes cues from The Sex Pistols and The Clash. In other words, they have your general skinhead oi band sound. And drop the f-bomb a lot. And have Chuck Berry style 2 string solos. You get the picture.
There's nothing wrong with the record. It sounds great for what it is: punk fucking rock. Lots of choruses, riffs, and most importantly – BALLS. Somehow, I think those balls might be a little…how do I say this…small and old. I think these guys want to be Funny? Using the word ARSE in place of ass might have been funny 10 years ago. Then again, I'm not British, so I don't know where they're coming from.
I think that might be part of the angle Hard Skin is going after. They are doing what they're doing, no matter how old fashioned it is. The first album is supposed to be better, according to the press release. I don't think it could sound better, although perhaps it is more raw. And maybe the band is not happy with this album? It's so hard to tell.
It's a good record and I don't have a problem with it. It's just that it's been done before. Hard Skin isn't trying to change the world. They're just having some punk rock fun. If that fun might involve pukin' and drinkin' and spittin' and fightin' and being pseudo-political, then so be it. But how can you call out against the man and then threaten to beat up a student for booze? I was a student once, and I probably did deserve to get beaten up for my beer. But I still have a crummy job, so they can't beat me up now? Right?
Supposedly, their first album was full of parodies of classic oi anthems and that might be what this is. I wouldn't know, but I would suppose Hard Skin could be pulling the same number again on Same Meat Different Gravy. But the joke is totally lost on me.
Still, Hard Skin is probably a good band live. They sound great on the album. Whether or not they can keep their guitars tuned is a conundrum. After one listen, I get the picture, but it might take me more than a couple of days to get over the hangover.
And yet, this is a fun band. They are obviously having fun doing what they're doing, and I'm not one to be stopping them. I think that persistence is part of their appeal too. It got to me when I thought about how this band keeps playing. "Dedicated to those who believe, and know the truth" completes the liner notes. I don't believe, or know, the truth, nor do I pretend to. There are people out there who do, and this record is for them. Punk Rock!