THE HI-FIS - TURN UP THE VOLUME
THE Hi Fi’s – TURN UP THE VOLUME
CD – released January 2021
Reviewed 21st December 2021 by Nick Constantine
The Hi Fi’s are -
Nick Kennedy – Vocals/Guitar
Keith Southwood – Upright Bass/backing vocals
Dave Diamond – Drums/backing vocals, howls, screams, whoops etc
The Hi Fi's were formed in 2018 and play roots rock n roll/rockabilly with an enthusiastic and authentic style. Their influences are Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Dion, Johnny Burnette, and many other 1950's American and British Rock n Roll stars who are all too vast to mention.
So, turn up the volume and get ready to hear the sounds of ...*The Hi Fi's!!*
Well, this band are certainly having a whole load of fun! It is apparent throughout each track on this album, which is a masterpiece of mixing up the most popular elements of rock n roll, rockabilly & doo wop and making it all sound authentic, but fresh at the same time! Most of the tracks on here are written by the band, but you would be hard-pressed to distinguish which 4 tracks were cover versions, when they all sound as if they could have been recorded in the late 50s/early 60s. Therefore, The Hi-Fi's easily pull the wool over our eyes, to make us believe from hearing their music, that they could easily be a long-lost group from that time, found in somebody’s attic, dusted off and pushed out on the road again to show us what we’ve been missing!
So, hey! Lets check out the tracks -
A fab guitar intro leads into this retro neo rockabilly style track, reminiscent of the likes of The Deltas and Restless – I can’t believe this isn’t from the early 80s!
I’LL HAVE ONE MORE GO
Another neo 80s influenced track. Nice and laid back, with a superb driving guitar and bass throughout. Whistles, whoops and shouts back up the cool, relaxed vocals and there’s just no escape from that infectious riff that gets into your soul and moves bits of your body quite involuntary!
Raw tribal drumming and then a fab slap bass line leads into an Eddie Cochran influenced song that is immediately likeable because it sounds like an off the cuff jam session recorded at a party, like one of them said ‘Hey guys, do you know this one by The Bobby Fuller Four?’ and we can hear the fun and big grins on their faces they had while recording this!
Let’s mix things up even more now! How about a doo wop stroller? Dion and the Belmonts style, but also a mix of other vocal groups such as The Mystics & The Diamonds. Gorgeous guitar riff throughout, absolutely nailing the style and sound, a guaranteed dance floor filler, mixing it in with other classics, the dance floor will be a sea of strollers!
HERE COMES THAT FEELING
Another of the few cover versions, this was originally by Brenda Lee, the dance floor is now still full of strollers and this is pure kitsch, rock n roll, doo wop, lemon popsicle, drive-ins, milkshakes, sippin sodas – you get the idea, you can hear it in your head now!
Well, let’s just throw something else in there shall we! Here we have a real mad mix of Bo Diddley, Tequila, groovy 60s vibes & garage, even a bit of British rock n roll. Get down baby!
KEEP MY LOVIN JUST FOR YOU
Speaking of British rock n roll, now we have a Billy Fury sort of jiver, could be a great hand clapper with audience participation when performed live, a great feel good track.
ROCK ME MY BABY
Buddy Holly cover. But thankfully they don’t try to reproduce it as the original or mimic Buddy. Instead they make it into a bit more of a rocker, almost like Eddie Cochran covering it. It sounds authentic, could easily have come out of the 50s!
The almost obligatory Stray Cat Strut influenced song that seems to feature on just about every rock n roll or rockabilly album by anyone! With a fab echoey guitar, perfect slap bass and atmospheric vocals, this sounds like it was recorded in the moonlight at the end of a lonely street!
PICTURE OF YOU
The Jo Brown and the Bruvvers classic, given a rock-over! Ramping it up into a rockabilly blaster, with great guitar licks, slick slap bass, cool drumming and fab backing vocals.
SOME OF MY LIES
Here we have what I reckon is a Ricky Nelson and Billy Fury inspired original from the band. An authentic jiver with inspired backing and the whoops and yelps add to the excitement and feel good factor of the whole sound. They’re still having so much fun!
HI FI BOOGIE
This sounds like a mash up of most of the surf and drum instrumentals of the 50s and 60s! Certainly can hear Pipeline by The Chantays, The Surfaris and Sandy Nelson to name just a few! I can just imagine Dave Diamond sat at his drum kit, strapped to a surf board, riding the waves and playing away!
RIGHT OR WRONG
And we finish with another original, a classic rockabilly style track, an especially good example of the neo rockabilly of the late 70s and early 80s and this could easily have been around then!
Wow! What an album! It consists of a very cool mix of tunes, covering a variety of styles, all of which are spot on! The quality of song writing, and musicianship is tremendous, with their own songs sounding so authentic that you would be forgiven for trawling the Internet to find out who recorded the original! The 4 cover versions are great in the fact they haven’t tried to copy the original, but add their own twists and turns to give them a breath of fresh air! I love the backing vocals and all the shouts, screams, yelps and whoops, which all add to the appeal of the tracks, giving them almost a party feel and that they’re having a ball playing these songs! Every part of this band is carefully thought about, not just the song writing, but the design of the albums and the clothes they wear. All together a fabulous package with tight musicianship and great production on this album.
I can’t wait to hear their next album, which the band inform me is due for release around the beginning of February.