There are a number of bands coming through at the moment who have taken a sound more associated with the states, particularly the south and repackaged it with a slightly Anglicised accent…HipRoute, The Dustbowl Children, The Rosellys and Case Hardin all spring to mind. But if their brand of British Americana (as it is being coined) sits in fairly Nashville-esque company…even if it is the more underground eastern part of the city, Hard Stairs come from somewhere else.
This is the unruly younger brother, the black sheep of the family, the garage punk rebel of the blues family. It has all the expected hallmarks, the riff boogies along; the beat hypnotically lopes along behind it, wonderfully and wilfully loose and the vocals growl out over the top. But it is the intangible elements to the music, which works for me. Between the notes and the beats and the words is something else, a whiskey fuelled attitude, a surly look and bad feeling about how things are going to turn out. Musically this is the guy who deliberately shoulder barges you as you head for the bar, the guy you do your best to avoid eye contact with all night, the guy you know is probably hanging around the car park at the end of the night just to get into a fight.