There is no bigger white whale in the subculture than the elusive good joke band. For some reason, that is a mystery to this blog, a lot of hardcore punk types think they're funny people. Some of these self-purported comedy types get ambitious and decide to start a joke band to lay down their brand of humor. 99.99% of the time, we get crap like Good Clean Fun & that other One Life Crew record. Luckily, in the universe, there is always the rule of one. In England, they aren't joke bands but novelty bands and the premier (and legitimately good) novelty band is Hard Skin.
Hard Skin is from Millwall (a neighborhood in south London). Led by Fat Bob, Hard Skin is an oi band that is not angry or political. They're sarcastic. Really, that's the only way a punk can approach humor is sarcasm. Puns aren't funny. Some diatribe about the ways thing are ala Seinfeld isn't funny. Making fun of the world you live in and making fractured takes on it is funny. That's what Hard Skin does. It is just a cruel lampooning of England, the oi genre's tropes, all the while singing about some familiar topics in a way only Hard Skin could. The result is something fresh on something cliche. Hard Skin is an oi band that never seems to get stale. They've been around since the mid 1990s and continue to put out new records that are great. Most recently they released the album On The Balls. As a companion to this record, Hard Skin released the same album with an assortment of contributing female vocalists called Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear. Turns out that the band's ambition matches their humor.
The band is a lot of fun. The band plays their style well. It is hard to be a good oi band most of the time. It is a genre that some consider top heavy. To be a great oi band while bearing no political brand is almost impossible (there are some notable exceptions, of course). Hard Skin is a great band and deserves more adoration than by the initiated.
Included is their discography. Enjoy.