Review: Hit the Lights - Skip School, Start Fights
Label: Triple Crown Records
Released: July 8, 2008
From the piano pop of the opening track, it's clear that rock n roll isn't high on the agenda for Hit the Lights. Somewhere in the last decade or so, pop punk and emo took a wrong turn and Skip School, Start Fights finds itself pretty far down that unfortunate detour.
There's no doubt that these guys are tight, even after adjusting to guitarist Nick Thompson taking over vocal duties after the departure of Colin Ross. They have the formula nailed. The vocals are just a hair shy of smooth, the guitars are just a tad cleaner than crunchy and the rhythms are just short of driving. Underlying Hit the Lights' pop punk exterior are hints of artists like the Gin Blossoms and Rick Springfield, both of whom were masters of making hollow copies of the real music of their respective times.
If you enjoy your pop a little on the raw and/or whiny side or your punk a whole lot on the safe side, Skip School, Start Fights is a great album. The songs are catchy even if they don't stand out in the emo/pop-punk crowd and the energy level is consistently high, bolstered by plenty of whoa-ohs to which to sing along. The trouble is, if you prefer something with teeth, it doesn't take long to recognize that there's no bite to go along with this bark.
If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.