An album from No Hot Ashes seems long overdue for fans of the four piece, and Hardship Starship does not falter under the pressure.
Though at times the tracks seem to indistinguishably blend together, there are standouts that make this a minor complaint. ‘ISH-KA’ is wonderfully extra-terrestrial, with the opening locking you into No Hot Ashes’ personal spaceship and taking you to the trippy world of the recognisably heavily accented vocals traversing a variety of topics. The passion couldn’t be clearer, and the steady, eclectic spoken parts are brilliantly bookended by a heavier chorus that almost shouts at us.
‘CAR’ is a standout. The song is jumpy in just the right measure and places, and unique; it addresses common themes in a new, exciting way. If you need a song to put on to wake you up in the morning, this is the one. ‘Motion Sick’ show that the band can vary their discography while maintaining cohesion: the vocals still shout out to you, but there is a far greater restraint shown.
Throughout, the band don’t try to mask their heavy accent, but seem rather to accentuate it. This could be the reason the album seems to be so wonderfully reminiscent of their earlier music; ‘Trouble’ is the cousin of ‘Bellyaches’, with the repeated “stick ‘em up” sticking in our heads and creating an endearing break in the track. ‘Bellyaches’ itself has seen a rebirth, which long-time fans will notice from the very starting notes. The vocals are clearer and more mature, but the track has lost none of what made it so popular in 2017. The shouted refrains lift any mood, and remind us of the young band that first gave us the catchy song.
The group have chosen to put hardly any of their singles on the 11 track album, and hits such as ‘Easy Peeler’ or ‘Cool Cat’ are nowhere to be seen. This was perhaps a wise choice – we’ve heard them so many times now that the new songs on the track list are appreciated.