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GBH - Ha Ha reissue album review

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

GBH Ha Ha album cover

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.

Came from the sky like a 747. Classic Rock’s least-reputable byline-grabber since 2003. Several decades deep into the music industry. Got fired from an early incarnation of Anal C**t after one show. 30 years later, got fired from the New York Times after one week. Likes rock and hates everything else. Still believes in Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, against all better judgment.