The Original Sins' debut album, Big Soul, was a full-on sonic flamethrower and emotional powerhouse, the sort of double hit few bands can manage their first time at bat, and you just had to wonder how they were going to top it. Well, the answer is, they didn't -- or at least not on their sophomore outing, The Hardest Way. The '60s garage and '80s punk influences that made Big Soul so memorable are back again on The Hardest Way, and both singer/guitarist J.T. and organ player Dan McKinney are in solid form, but much of the material doesn't rock quite as hard as the blazing first side of Big Soul, and even the tunes that do connect at full force -- "Out of My Mind," "You Can't Touch Me," and the title cut -- lack the passion and heart that really made the difference on the first album. In short, The Hardest Way finds the Original Sins suffering from the typical second-album dilemma: not enough top-shelf material. While this problem would remedy itself on Self Destruct, that unfortunately doesn't make The Hardest Way any better.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming