Release Date: Jan 31, 2012
Record label: Razor & Tie
Hit the Lights' major-label debut, Invicta, adheres to emo-pop melody as much as their last two albums, but everything feels bigger. Prior to the release, vocalist Nick Thompson explained that he hoped the album would be epic, and all the elements are there. With the monolithic crunch guitar riffs, the stomping drums, the shoutalong hooks, and the choruses ready-made for an arena, all the songs are performed like Arcade Fire or U2 anthems as they escalate into show-stopping crescendos.
Back to their best? Not quite... After the sample EP last month, ‘Invicta’ marks the return of one of the most understated but best-loved pop-punk behemoths of the last five years, although it sadly doesn’t quite deliver on its promise. In typical fist-in-the-air fashion, ‘Invincible’ starts things off ceremoniously, while ‘Gravity’ soon follows (which, to their credit is one of the catchiest songs they’ve ever written), but as ‘Invicta’ progresses, the quality dilutes and the latter tracks on offer here feel much like hastily-written afterthoughts.
I have a friend who coined a term for a genre of music: “ponk”. He came up with the term some time ago to embrace a whole slew of punk bands that play essentially pop music, such as Blink 182 and Sum 41. If you combine the words “pop” and “punk”, you get “ponk”. Get it? Well, the Ohio-based Hit the Lights is essentially a ponk band, as evidenced by their latest release Invicta (not to be confused with an EP released late last year with the same name and three of the 11 songs that make up this release).