Stars Of CCTV - Hard-Fi

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. The wonder of 'Stars...' is how magnificently alive all this suburban angst sounds.
  2. The triumphant "Star's Of CCTV" will be to guitar bands what The Street's "Original Pirate Material" was to the UK urban music: essential listening.
  3. It possesses that raw energy that was present in two other exciting debuts, Is This It? by The Strokes and Definitely Maybe by Oasis.
  4. "Stars of CCTV" is that rare British import that lives up to the advance billing.
  5. Archer and friends deserve praise for making an album so rooted in its locale so appealing to a wider audience due to the never-ending amount of catchy hooks and melodies on display on Stars Of CCTV.
  6. An album of tight and spiky blue-collar dance rock. [17 Mar 2006, p.114]
  7. A rousing debut. [Aug 2005, p.123]
  8. These guys are passionate about what they're doing.
  9. Fuses the chavvy charm of working-class Britain to a stream of anthemic, pure pop melodies in the service of pissed and pissed-off youth worldwide.
  10. For fans of indie-rock with a poppy slant, Stars of CCTV is an absolute necessity.
  11. Despite some interesting accoutrements (tasteful trumpets yay, bombastic strings meh) and some game attempts at eclecticism (acoustic pluck wicked, piano ballad oh geez), Stars of CCTV is of a part with the varied guitar-driven stuff that their fellow Mercury nominees-- Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, etc.,-- have offered folks this past year.
  12. 70
    The likes of "Hard To Beat" and "Cash Machine" jack not just the offbeat skank and dubby bass of The Specials but some of their creeping dread and downbeat humanity as well. [Aug 2005, p.92]
  13. Hard-Fi's desire to create something solid enjoyable in the midst of everyday monotony is what makes Stars of CCTV an enjoyable first effort.
  14. Hard-Fi's edge over more derivative rivals lies in a formula that delivers old Specials and Clash reggae vibes with the big-tune ratio of a boy band.
  15. Exciting, catchy and highly promising.
  16. Hard-Fi don't quite have the lyrical prowess or songwriting chops yet to make the dent they'd like. [#13, p.92]
  17. Musically there's nothing on 'Stars of CCTV' that stands out as particularly innovative or imaginative[;] it's above average modern indie fare made with gusto by people who want to make records that sound like the records they like: The Clash, The Specials, The Verve and a bunch of other bygone Britpoppers.
  18. 60
    A slice of British street life with strut, and guitars. [Apr 2006, p.112]
  19. Their Clash-inspired punk funk bites music ideas from the Specials and the Happy Mondays, but singer Richard Archer gets his songs from street life, dead-end jobs, run-ins with the law.
  20. There isn't much about Stars Of CCTV that hasn't already been done and better.
  21. Cribbing from Franz Ferdinand's sonic playbook (with a healthy dose of fellow revivalists Dead 60s, Kasabian, and--why not?--Kaiser Chiefs thrown in), Hard-Fi builds roiling, angsty anthems built upon Richard Archer's stark evocations of life in suburban London.
  22. 40
    A steely-eyed desperation to succeed is transparent all through Hard-Fi's debut. [Aug 2005, p.112]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35
  1. Dec 15, 2010
    An album that tries too hard to push its working class motives. That is the only thing that this album suffers from since I am not convinced about how the vocalist sings about the hardships of the British working class but aside from all of this, it's a cleverly layered album with catchy, joyful but strangely dark songs with Clash like guitar and crowd like atmosphere. Full Review »
  2. EdwardM
    May 12, 2007
    Probably the most energetic album I've heard in the last 5 years. It takes a few listens to fully appreciate, but after that you'll be hooked. Full Review »
  3. May 6, 2013
    Coming along around the same time as Bloc Party, with similar themes, Hard-Fi lack the edge of their mid-noughties Indie Rock counterparts. Stars of CCTV is a reasonably impressive debut but is over produced. At times this production saves some of the more mediocre moments but too often the production serves to make the record sound like a million other things you'll have heard at the time. Worth checking out and picking out the handful of decent tracks on there. Full Review »