I’m a pretty nostalgic person. I long for my early high school years at times. Pop-punk was the dominant musical choice for me back then. Every time I find a really good pop-punk band, I get a warm feeling inside. I’ll open the windows, (be it indoors or in a car) blast the music, and proceed to rock out.
In the case of Lima, Ohio’s Hit the Lights, I turn the volume up even more than before. “This Is A Stick Up…Don’t Make It A Murder” is reminiscent of old New Found Glory, but also brings to mind current day pop-punk powerhouses from Chicago and Atlanta respectively.
The album opens with a voicemail sample that leads into “The Call Out (You Are the Dishes.)” The song is a statement. This band knows what they want, and their attack plan is to use songs like this to get you to sing along. “We won’t back down,” is their battle cry and you might as well accept the fact that it’s true.
“These Backs Were Made for Stabbing” has a bridge so infectious that you won’t realize the words are coming out of your mouth, too. Colin changes the dynamics of his voice so much in this song, allowing his range to shine through.
The chorus of “309” is begging to be sung along to. Halfway through the song, a line sticks out to me so much. “Like the way that your eyes travel to the floor when you tell a lie.” The way Colin sings this lyric just hits home. I love this song.
“Bodybag” is one of the catchiest tracks on here. It would be an ideal single. The group vocals in the middle of the song are properly placed and while being short, are easy to clap along to.
“Talk Us Down” opens up sounding like Cartel at their finest. Even the lyrical content is similar, such as “Cities never sleep when we’re gone.” While the similarities are there, I can’t help but enjoy this song more than Cartel. Sorry guys.
“Save Your Breath” has all the spiteful lyrics that made Fall Out Boy’s “Take This To Your Grave” a gem. I dare you to try not to play this song on repeat.
“Sincerely Yours” and “100 Times” are right at home on that mix tape you’re thinking about giving to the girl that just broke up with you.
“It’s All the Rage” makes a bold statement with the line “We are exactly what you want to be. Where you’ve been and what you’ve done mean nothing.” Where that may seem cocky from an outsider’s perspective, this band wants people to know that it’s still cool to like FUN music. You don’t just have to like artsy stuff to be cool.
“Speakers Blown” would be another great single. It’s got one of those choruses that sticks with you for a couple of weeks.
After seeing the band perform “Until We Get Caught” live, I realized this song has the ability to rally people together to rock out. Colin demands, “Hands in the air!” and up they go, accompanied by shouts. The song is great on the disc, but you really need to hear it live and see the crowd to get the full effect of its potential.
“Make A Run For It” closes the album with group vocal chants of “We’ve got this down to a science baby.” That they do.
The production on this album is flawless. Anything Matt Squire touches is gold.
While not breaking any new ground musically, Hit the Lights have delivered a debut LP full of everything that made me love this style of music. I haven’t spun an album this much since theAudition’s “Controversy Loves Company” was released.
If for some reason, Cartel don’t become the next pop-punk kings, Hit the Lights are poised to take the throne. The potential of this band is insane. Listen to them, love them, support them, and just have fun listening to them. Thank you Hit the Lights for making an album that I’ll be blasting in my car this summer.
1. The Call Out (You Are the Dishes)
2. These Backs Were Made for Stabbing
5. Talk Us Down
6. Save Your Breath
7. Sincerely Yours
8. 100 Times
9. It’s All the Rage
10. Speakers Blown
11. Until We Get Caught
12. Make a Run For It