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When a band works with two different producers on one album it can be hard to achieve an impressive flow, or even any flow at all, even if the two producers, in their own right, are awesome. Weirdly enough the situation in this opening sentence sets up the main issue with Hit The Lights new record, ‘Invicta.’ How about that.
Hit The Lights opted to work with two different producers for their third full length album, the first being Machine (Four year Strong, The Amity Affliction), and the second, Mike Sapone (MC Lars, Brand New), both extremely talented at what they do. Unfortunately the end result, when looked at as a whole, is a collection of various songs rather than a cohesive record.
Big picture view aside, the songs themselves show a huge leap forward in maturity for the band as well as some gutsy attempts at diversity, some of which work, others that do not. Opening track Invincible has been well placed to let fans of the group know that they are still the loveable party punk-poppers they always have been at heart, just with much slicker production.
Next up is the record’s first single Gravity, which introduces the first step outside of the square for Hit The Lights, electronics. Whilst the electro vibe is really only a feature in the introduction, we will notch this down as a win as the programming is a subtle yet effective lead in to one of the stand out tracks on the album. Coupled with the second single, and following track, Earthquake, the mass of guitars and incredibly catchy hooks confirm that Hit The Lights could be headed for the big leagues.
For some reason there are a few too many ballads on the record, the first of which So Guilty has the band turning the "we want to be played on the radio, heaps" dial turned up way to high. Nothing wrong with a good ballad, but they need to be way more interesting than this song and its ballad partner, Should’ve Known. After a few more well written, powerful punk-pop tracks, Float Through Me and All the Weight, we hit the lowest point of the record, the over- synthesised Faster Now. Remember the lack of flow mentioned earlier, one of the main culprits can be found here at track nine. The band score points for trying to break out a little however reading a "how to make music teenage girls will love" book is not the way to do it. Interestingly enough the song was co-written by Yellowcard’s Ryan Key so not sure what went wrong there.
The record ends with an attempt at something unforgettable in Oh My God, but forgets to include any memorable moments, the structure and ideas behind the track however are commendable.
‘Invicta’ is hit and miss, with the good moments being really good and the bad moments leaving you scratching your head. The use of two producers and the cut and paste feel of the record hints that Hit The Lights may not really have known what the wanted from this album. The huge leap in song writing abilities however says that once they find a direction, they will be damn near unstoppable.
4. So Guilty
5. Get To You
6. Float Through me
7. Should’ve Known
8. All the Weight
9. Faster Now
10. Take Control
11. Oh My God