'Coming Out' - The HARDWAYS
A great honour has been thrust upon my broad shoulders, as I, Dr. Rock, the greatest rock 'n roll critic of all time will attempt to unravel the musical talents of the Hardways' debut album, 'Coming Out.' This eagerly anticipated release has been two years in the making and the question of whether Queenslands' favourite pub rock band could fuse their blazing musicianship with songwriting flair and creativity from the stage to the studio remained. My summation is a resounding YES, yet a masterpiece like this one can only be described by the sum of its parts so here goes :-
Coming Out - At first, I thought Homer had slipped me a soundtrack of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" by mistake. But Rufus (aka George Carlin from said movie), assured me that a rock n roll journey of biblical proportions was about to commence. ' How TOOOTALLY NON BOOOOGUS, DUUUDE!!!' Gazing the name of this title track indicated a few kinky confessions may have been exposed. but alas, a catchy instrumental number followed just to wet my appetite. A subtle keyboard tune overshadowed by blazing guitars highlights The Hardways' unique, 'in your face,' kind of attitude.
Kind o' Woman - This groovy hit has a kind of 70's feel to it. Soothing guitar riffs guarantee this will be the first song chosen on Triple M's 'Worlds' Greatest Beer Songs #3.'
Lightning Strikes - A trademark Hardways number. George Thorogood meets ZZ Top here. The question lingers, "Does lightning strike twice?" "Does a one legged duck swim in circles?"
C'mon - Anyone who has worked within one hundred yards of the chocolate wheel at the casino, will know the origins of this song. Who would have thought an everyday irritation could be turned into such a catchy little number?
Bring on the Night - To think someone has accused our beloved Hardways of partaking in beer-guzzling, arse-pinching, festivities indeed. Remember what Lindy Chamberlain said, "Innocent until proven guilty!" The boys are just about as innocent too.
Keeping the Dream Alive - Every great rock album needs a power ballad and here it is. I'll admit to thinking it is one of the better tunes I've heard in a long while. (OK, so I don't listen to much music.) Seriously though, the good doctor quietly tips this may be the track to propel the lads into rock n roll superstardom.
Time Flies - It just goes to show, everybody's got a few skeletons in their closet. A simple yet refreshing riff that showcases The Hardways' versatility, and I'm only halfway through the disc. Already, it's evident that this Hardways album will appeal to the most diverse of musical tastes and cultures. The only thing that concerns me here is the name of that song. Obviously the guys must be rostered in different places in the casino than I !
The Procedure Song - Here it is! Everyone's favourite party tune is back, and included as a bonus track for all those who rush in and purchase one of the first million copies sold. What a deal! This classic has broken all the records:-
*Longest running #1 hit by any casino band in the history of all Brisbane casinos.
*Most number of units sold ever (Homer finally bailed me up for that $4 I owed him!)
*Most popular song of 1998 & 1999 played to and from work in Paul Kruger's car (Director of Casino Operations)
Yes, this one is right up there with 'Stairway to Heaven," folks! For all those of you who have kept your heads in the sand for the past two years, a lighthearted look at what is learnt in dealers' school and forgotten by the end of week 1! (Listen out for the special guest appearance by Timmy O on the guitar!)
Latin Love Cocktail - Ahh, yes! Cars, motorbikes, football and wet T-shirts. Perhaps I've missed the point here, but that's still my kind of song . What else do I have to say?
The Great Man - Brilliant! A dedication to the greatest guitarist in the cosmos! The Great Man himself makes a special guest appearance here with a couple of his most famous solos that sound almost as good as the original recordiongs. Funny thing, that. If this one makes it big ,boys, take my advice, hire a darn good lawyer.
This Place Shags - Straight to the point I guess. The word 'in da house,' is that the Beastie Boys are already trying to secure the copyrights to this one. And to think, I thought,'The one I love' by R.E.M, was brief when it comes to lyrical content. Takes the environmentally friendly award for saving paper, if your mind has a green tinted tendancy.
Please Love Me - The diversity of this album shows that not only are our boys the testosterone kings, but they have a S.N.A.G. side to them as well. It has been confirmed that Bryan Adams is trying to get his hands on this one as the theme song for his next movie.
Catch me a Butterfly - It's a sad reflection on society that a mis-spent childhood illustrates the need to hold one of mother-nature's most glorious creations in a 'Jam jar', with a few holes poked in it! The likening of a woman to a butterfly makes this a clever way to end the album. The bottom line is - Butterflys don't suck your wallet dry and they don't get cranky once a month. An almost 'Huey Lewis and the News - esque" kind of feel to this little ditty.
In conclusion, I rate this album a solid ten out of ten ! It should be noted that Homer's bribery attempts had absolutely nothing to do with the opinions expressed by this critic. There's certainly something here for everyone, whether young or old, male or female, Ricky Martin fan or non Ricky Martin fan, you'll find hours of neverending enjoyment and frivolity. Repeatedly listening to this CD will most certainly make you more appealing to the opposite sex, or even the same sex, if that's your true inclination! There's not a shadow of a doubt that this first-up effort from The Hardways is bound to transform these four simple guys from musical obscurity to " No red M&M's please" Rock Gods. So in Ian 'Molly' Meldrum's immortal words, "Do yourself a favour!"