REVIEW: Hit The Lights – Invicta

Hit The Lights 2012

Artist: Hit The Lights
Album: Invicta
Genre: Pop Rock/Alternative
Label: Razor & Tie

2012 has already proven to be an exciting year for music. From the reunion of two of the scene’s most influential bands, to the disbanding of many others, it is safe to say anything is possible this year. Those needing further evidence need look no further than Invicta, the third and most inspired effort from Ohio’s Hit The Lights.

Kicking off with the anthemic “Invincible,” Hit The Lights waste no time shedding nearly every hint of the sound that propelled 2008’s Skip School, Start Fights. The boys who grew up on the run have become the men who traveled the world and before the first chorus hits that should should be deafeningly clear to anyone paying attention. This initial jolt is then followed by the equally mature and dense combo of “Gravity” and “Earthquake,” which few will be able to shake from memory in the coming months.

Invicta takes a more alternative twist as “So Guilty” comes and goes without much flare, but that falter is quickly forgiven when the lavish “Get To You” comes in with a catchy hook and dancefloor-ready bridge to sweep you right back into the groove of the record. Things take another epic turn with “Float Through Me” before quickly settling down for the ballad, yes ballad, “Should’ve Known.” Nick is accompanied by a faint electric guitar as the band slowly pours in with an ocean of sound that pauses only long enough to let the listener breathe before becoming fully submerged. A definite change of pace that will likely divide some fans, but one most will immediately embrace.

Turning towards the album’s back half, the somber mood is lifted with the hopeful chorus of “All The Weight.” This sonically segways rather flawlessly into the experimental pop sensibilities found on “Faster Now.” It is clearly a new direction for the band, but one that hits you so curiously that you find yourself hitting repeat before the second chorus rolls around. This sense of exploratory wonder is then found twice more as the album’s closers (“Take Control” and “Oh My God”) go places HTL have rarely, if ever, ventured.

Those looking for proof there is life after pop punk need look no further than Hit The Lights’ Invicta. It is a record ripe with maturity, honesty, and a newfound sense of sonic exploration that is downright addictive. There are of course growing pains here and there, but nothing you will remember considerably when reflecting on the album as whole. If this is the sound of the pop rock’s future, count me in.

Score: 8.5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell (Follow him on Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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