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hard ons hysteria

The Hard OnsRipper 23

Cheersquad Records & Tapes
2nd June, 2023
Punk Rawk!

The riffs are taut, the fuzz is well and truly brought, and it’s a hell of a good time on Aussie punk‘n’pop outfit The Hard-Ons’ brand new album Ripper 23.

MORE: AVATAR: The Eagle Has Landed, Avatar Are Finally Heading To Australia This August REVIEWS: REDHOOK: Postcard From A Living Hell  // THE AMITY AFFLICTION: Not Without My Ghosts // SLEEP TOKEN: Take Me Back To Eden // THE USED: Toxic Positivity // THE DIRTY NIL: Free Rein to Passions

Tracing back to a high school in Sydney before going on to amass their current lineup, Peter ‘Blackie’ Black, Ray Ahn, Murray Ruse and, most recently, Tim Rogers, The Hard-Ons are now on album #14 in 2023, off the back of their most recent release, 2021’s I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken that swung in at #4 on the ARIA Album charts.

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Renowned for their pop-infused metal-ish rock, psychedelic tendencies and tongue-in-cheek flair, The Hard-Ons claim a globally dedicated fanbase and also claim the likes of The Celibate Rifles, GANGajang and more as fellow Sydney peers who exploded out of the thriving live scene in the area during the 1980s. Endlessly energetic, versatile and unashamedly thrash-tastic, Ripper 23 is equally a step forward for the Aussie veterans as much as it is a celebration of having a raucously good time. Also marking an ode to the actual Ripper compilation albums from the 70s (if you know, you know), everything old is still awesome in 2023, and The Hard-Ons are here to solidify that fact.

Straight outta the gates on Ripper 23, Apartment For Two well and truly gets the party started. With Rogers draped over lines like: “But I’m as peaceful as a lamb / My perambulant Madame”, Apartment For Two is a riotous and searing punk powderkeg that could genuinely be a Hard-Ons track at any stage of their career. Next up, Three Separate Light Bulb Moments levitates for a boisterous 36 seconds, before Goin’ It Alone strips back with swirling psych and a slower, yet still urgent, pace. Shimmering with its pop-centric melodics and rustic rock, Goin’ It Alone leads into Sheets Are a Shroud that blends nostalgic sonic throwbacks with Rogers’ creamy delivery and polished instrumentals. 

Lyrically an album for the everyman and those who like some tongue in their rock‘n’roll cheek, Ripper 23 is exactly what its name suggests – a loving homage to the past and a devilishly fun addition to 2023

Covering everything from high-octane sorcery (Chopping Block) to taut and sinewy pop rock topped with unwavering charm (Never Been Handsome), a brief stick of dynamite come to life (Grandiose) and riffs to make Acca Dacca proud (In Falls Everything), Ripper 23 has a rip-roaring good time throughout its every twist and turn. Elsewhere, classic punk reigns supreme on Makes Me Sick, while Sling Shot gallops its way into your brain with chugs, lush vocals and a well-placed sizzling guitar solo alongside cascading drumwork. And closing out proceedings, the bouncy Letterbox affably blends playful harmonies with straightforward arrangements before the blues-soaked Ordinary Things relishes in everything from Bowie-esque vocals to sparkling pianos, and a pastiche of classic and modern rock.

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Already firmly ingrained in the Australian musical landscape, The Hard-Ons had zero to prove with Ripper 23. But what this latest album resoundingly achieves is far from just reaffirming why the group have permeated across the globe so consistently for multiple decades; rather, it’s an album that showcases some of the country’s finest doing what they love most, and soundtracking their passion into a collection that genuinely slaps. Lyrically an album for the everyman and those who like some tongue in their rock‘n’roll cheek, Ripper 23 is exactly what its name suggests – a loving homage to the past and a devilishly fun addition to 2023. 

STANDOUT TRACKS: Apartment For Two, Goin’ It Alone, Sheets Are a Shroud,
STICK THIS NEXT TO: The Celibate Rifles, Supersuckers, The Dickies

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