By Random Hand
Random Hand - Hit Reset 3.5/5
Random Hand are on a hiatus and this is their final offering for now, until they return. After securing funding for the album through a Pledge Music campaign, which raised the funds in record time due to a loyal fan-base, the Keighley lads thought they'd leave their loyal fans a great record for the years of support which saw them cover venues from the UK and the US via Russia and Europe.
The appropriately titled "Day One" opens the album and sees a mysterious sounding intro kicked in by a heavy punk overture that sets the scene for the rest of the track. Second up is "Death by Pitchforks" which is the first time we hear the familiar horn. The second track on the album offers up a nice big slice of ska punk which delights in every way, the fans will be happy. "Protect and survive" sees the band back in full on punk mode whilst "If I Save Your Back" sees an almost Clash-esque singalong that gets the head nodding before it steams back into full flow and then slowing it right down to decent reggae/dub breakdown which again returns to heavy punk to close out the song, a highlight on the album.
"After the alarm" sees a direct nod to fellow ska punkers Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, bouncy, big and surely a crowd pleaser at the live shows. Whereas "Dead No Longer" is not terrible, not anything new or special but will please the faithful. "Maybe It's A Prize" sees a nice off beat rhythm but again doesn't offer anything spectacular. Fear is growing that they served the best up at the beginning of the album, but "Pack It Up", is a nice cheeky offering that could be a modern day Specials in the quieter sections. "Clean Slate" is straight out punk rock and reassures the listener that all is not lost. "Abide" is another nicely crafted brass number, that lends itself to the sublime, with the guitar chords going slightly off which adds a nice surreal sound that make you question your hearing. The penultimate song, "Shelter As A Verb", sees the lads stay safe again. Whereas "As Loud As You Can", thankfully brings the album to a nice close, by doing exactly what it says on the tin, so turn it up.
The final song really encapsulates the whole album and is a little of everything. All in all the album twists and turn with enough variety to keep all sides of the camp happy and it's a fitting end to this particular chapter.