Hit The Lights

Summer Bones

Written by: PP on 16/04/2015 21:49:31

Hit The Lights are back with their fourth full-length "Summer Bones" and the outcome just might surprise some people. After dwelling in or near the basement of most rating scales with their last couple of EPs and previous full length "Invicta", which basically portrayed the band as an awful Simple Plan style pop rock group with no artistic credibility left in the tank, the new album sees the band return to their roots of the innocently fun and insanely catchy pop punk debut "This Is A Stick Up... Don't Make It A Murder" from almost ten years ago. In other words, it is an attempt to revitalize the vibrant energy and the infectious, albeit sugarcoated pop punk songwriting that exploded the band onto the scene in the first place.

Much like its title suggests, "Summer Bones", is definitely a record for warm temperatures. Tempo has been significantly upped, the vocal and guitar hooks written with irresistibly catchy melodies in mind, and generally the atmosphere is positive and upbeat -- bouncy even -- which is pretty much a key requirement for pop punk of the poppy kind. That is, the polar opposite of the more serious and emotive approach taken by the realist group entailing The Wonder Years and friends. Instead, think fun hooks and nasal vocal melodies a la New Found Glory, add in some State Champs and maybe even Four Year Strong in places, and you're basically exactly at early to mid 2000s pop punk scene. Which is where you definitely want to be when it comes to sugarcoated pop punk, especially considering how mediocre they have been for a long while until now. While some forays into generic pop rock such as the nothingsaying title track do exist, the band also offer slick guitar melodies ("Fucked Up Kids"), punk rock themed aggressive pop punk instrumentation ("Old Friend", "Keep Your Head"), insanely catchy vocal melodies ("Revolutions And Executions"), and overall an enjoyable pop punk expression that showcases the genre exactly the way it was meant to be played.

So does that mean "Summer Bones" is a return to form? Well, yes and no. On one hand, Hit The Lights certainly sound like a band that has reinvented themselves and like they're having fun on record once again, something that definitely couldn't be said on "Invicta". That's a positive and one that's going to make old Hit The Lights fans happy. At the same time, there are periods on the record which just feel very derivative. Technically, their debut album already felt derivative in a crowded genre, but their youthful enthusiasm and spirit helped mask the lack of originality and as a result the band just felt relevant. That's not necessarily the case here. It's a nod towards the old days of pop punk but without the same untouchable energy -- the vibe -- that powered their original expression. This sounds more like a band that tried to change their sound, failed rather miserably, and grudgingly went back to doing what they were pretty good at doing in the first place. Either way, the standard has been upped significantly, and for the first time since 2008, Hit The Lights sound like they're going to be a player again on the pop punk scene.


Download: Fucked Up Kids, Revolutions And Executions, Old Friend, No Filter
For the fans of: New Found Glory, Fireworks, City Lights, State Champs
Listen: Facebook

Release date 24.03.2015
Pure Noise Records

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