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GBH - Ha Ha reissue album review

Wherein Britain’s hardcore heroes loosen up and live a little

By 2002 – when Ha Ha was originally released – GBH were already 26 years old. Their releases were spotty at best throughout the 90s and whatever rep they garnered in the 80s as the snarling godfathers of the punk-metal crossover was lost in the pop-punk deluge of the Warped era.

Their last album before this one, 1996’s Punk Junkies, was a pissed-off, nearly tuneless beast of a record that echoed their earliest hardcore days, but it sank like a stone when released.

Ha Ha is something else entirely. It’s really a rock’n’roll record, and even the angriest, street-punkiest tracks – Crush ’Em, The Desire Of Poverty, The Unexpected – are hook-heavy enough to fit neatly on a playlist with radio-ready 00s mall-punks like Rancid or The Offspring. And that’s fine – this is probably GBH’s most listenable record. It might turn off the hardcore Harrys in the crowd, but those buggers are never happy anyway.