Release Date: Sep 9, 2014
Record label: Rude Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Grunge, Punk-Pop
My friend and former PopMatters music reviewer, Darryl G. Wright, coined a term, which, alas, doesn’t seem to have caught on with the general public. In describing pop punk bands such as Blink-182, Sum 41 and Total Wink 853 (okay, so the last one is made up), he confided in me that they should be called “ponk”, which would be a merging of the two words.
Although the band built their success on a foundation of yearning power pop and sugary pop punk, American Hi-Fi's fifth album, Blood & Lemonade, finds the band returning with an album of rough-hewn hard rock. Although it's possible to hear strains of Cheap Trick in the band's longing, melodic vocals, a constant stream of snarling guitars sounds like an altogether different beast. With an opening riff that feels like it was lifted from the playbook of Stone Temple Pilots, "Golden State" eases listeners into the heavy stuff as it seamlessly shifts gears between the driving opening and chorus and the wistful verses.
It's been years since we've heard much from American Hi-Fi. Has 'Blood & Lemonade' been worth the wait? In fifth album ‘Blood & Lemonade’, American Hi-Fi deliver the kind of melodic, moody fare that would be right at home soundtracking a US teen drama. Again. It’s promising in places, with occasional lyrical genius and wailing guitars impressing, but by and large it lacks the balls to really make an impact.