The Broken Hands take a bombastic approach on Harden the F@#k Up!

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Harden the F@#k Up! (Independent)

Not to judge a band by its album cover, but the Broken Hands seem like they might have a thing for black. The front and back covers of Harden the F@#k Up! are—album typography and a cement block aside—the colour of a Kentucky coal mine at midnight. The 11-track CD inside is stamped to look like an old-fashioned black-wax 45-rpm single. And, most tellingly, the band’s songs suggest a more than passing affection for Big Black, Black Flag, Black Sabbath, and the black-leather-jacket burnouts known as the Ramones.

The Broken Hands start things off loud and trashy, with the guitars and bass of “Give It to You” imagining a cross between Paul Bunyan’s chainsaw and a revved-up Japanese superbike. The East Van trio goes on to play connect-the-dots between Tony Iommi and Greg Ginn on the raging thunder-slab “Too Much”, re-create the smell of Nashville Pussy with “What You Want”, and give roadhouse boogie a sweet glam makeover on “Rocking Chair”.

Big props to the Broken Hands for fine-tuning a distortion-fried guitars-and-bass attack capable of melting the fillings of small children. The downside to this is that towards the end of Harden the F@#k Up!, the group’s big and bombastic sound is often better than its songs. Still, should everything come together, these guys should be a band worth watching, especially if you’ve got a thing for the colour black.

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