And so ends the journey for Random Hand. One of the definining names on Britain’s ska-punk radar are officially calling it a day, and unleashing one final parting shot in the form of new album ‘Hit Reset’. Never ones to go gentle into that good night, however, it seems that as incendiary as ever, the Yorkshire quartet have opted for the “Viking funeral” route.
Given the occasion, it’s unsurprising that the four-piece go straight for the jugular with opening track ‘Day One’. With all things considered, it would be uncharacteristic for ‘Hit Reset’ to open any other way, and it’s the perfect way to kick off a record which will have you reminded of every reason why Random Hand have been such a strong figure in the foreground of the UK punk scene.
‘Death By Pitchforks’ allows the ska side of Random Hand’s artillery to get a strong airing, and by less than a minute into the second track on the album, it’s already hard to enjoy it without getting at least a couple of limbs moving. ‘Protect & Survive’ and ‘After the Alarm’ emphasise the fact that this record may not be the safest driving music; if there is such a thing as “too fun to drive to”, then ‘Hit Reset’ certainly checks that box.
‘Dead No Longer’ could certainly do with being up to as much as twice as long, but with following track ‘Maybe It’s A Prize’ clocking in as the longest on the album, one of the record’s all-round strongest songs easily makes up for its preceding number burning twice as bright for half as long. ‘Pack it Up’ allows for a resurgence of Random Hand’s ska side as ‘Hit Reset’ enters its final phases, but ‘A Clean Slate’ and ‘Abide’ make it abundantly clear that there is no solemn, wistful conclusion in the offing. The latter of the two is a track you can’t help but throw yourself around to, it’s Random Hand at their all-out, raucous best and you start to realise just how massive the hole left behind by their departure is going to be.
The riotous one-two of ‘Shelter As A Verb’ and ‘As Loud As You Can’ really are the perfect send-off for one of the greatest punk acts the 21st century has produced thus far. They leave behind them hours of magnificent music and an unassailably high bar for the next crop of British talent to try and reach. They really couldn’t have found a better note to end on.
‘Hit Reset’ by Random Hand is out now on Bomber Music.
Words by Antony Lusmore (@VilinskiKonjic)