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From Staines, an unfashionable London commuter town under the flight path of Heathrow Airport (it's the home of fictional gangsta Ali G) come tales of working class frustrations and ambition played to a Britpop soundtrack. With harmonicas honking like car horns and lyrics about ATMs, Hard-Fi's music never strays far from the streets. July 2005's debut album Stars of CCTV enjoyed both immediate commercial success and a nomination for 2005's Mercury Music Prize (an award designed to showcase the year's 12 best albums from UK and Irish artists) leading to inevitable comparisons between bandleader Richard Archer and the Streets' Mike Skinner, but also Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and --perhaps most accurately -- the Specials' Terry Hall. Whether or not the band go on to fulfill their early promise, this was the sound of the suburbs in England during the summer of 2005.
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