Hard Girls – “Floating Now” (2017)

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This was an album I pretty much stumbled across, which I always love to do. The moments before I hit play on an album from a band I’ve never heard of are always exciting with the anticipation of what the hell I’m about to listen to. So, what did I hear from Hard Girls and their album “Floating Now”? A pretty damn good punk album is what!

From Hard Girls on this record, you get some classic punk tropes like the shouting choruses you can hear on songs like “Puddle of Blood”, “Codeine Dreams”, and “Running”,¬† and also the traditional punk rock instrumentation you might expect. But you also get, what I like to call, the right mix of sweet and sour. The song “Camera” is one of the best examples of this with its somewhat harsh guitar leads (sour) which swing into some hella catchy verses and chords (sweet). This can span beyond moments in a single song, and it does on “Floating Now”. There are some great dynamics throughout the album, where mellow songs such as “Herd” and “Echolocation” give a lot more emphasis to the bangers like “Neurons on the Fritz”.

The guitar work really shines on “Floating Now”; at times it noodles away, following the vocal melodies, and at others it causes mayhem. I especially like the sounds it pulls off on “Neurons on the Fritz”, where I swear I’m hearing an octave pedal being used, which in my opinion is a very underutilized effect. The bass also gets some love on the album, like at the end of “Puddle of Blood” where it breaks out into a funky little jam. I have no complaints about the drums either as they keep the band going like a well-oiled machine. The vocals did come off at first like a run-of-the-mill male punk rock singer, but they did grow on me and they do have a nice range to them, evidenced by the more mellow songs. The recording on the album is nice, I can hear all of the individual instruments but there is still enough noise and crackle to give the songs some added liveliness.

I have to preface the score by saying that it’s a 7 for me, but teetering on the edge of an 8. If I had my druthers, Hard Girls would go a little more aggressive on the louder moments here. It’s like they are about to punch me in the face but they pull back and I just want them to take a swing. I like to feel some adrenaline in my punk rock, and “Floating Now” doesn’t quite deliver that. This is still a nice punk rock release, and I’ll be keeping my eye out on the record label, Specialist Subject Records, as well as the band itself.

7/10

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