Hit The Lights – Coast to Coast EP

3633067780_3a6aeec93eArtist: Hit The Lights
Album: Coast To Coast
Label: Triple Crown
Genre: Pop Punk

Last Summer, I announced Hit The Lights as the band who would be the official soundtrack to UTG’s Summer and that remained the fact for much longer than just Summer. Having followed this band since they play for gas money in states much too far away from their home in Lima, Ohio, I like to think I know quite a lot about their music and capabilities. Taking a note from other growing acts in the scene as of late who tour too much to record often, HTL have just released a brand new EP with 2 new songs, 2 covers, and 2 acoustic tracks. Consider this, the Coast To Coast EP, an appetizer before the band releases and new, and sure to be great 3rd full length in 2010.

This EP wastes no time showing us that Hit The Lights are still and will forever be HTL. The title track screams the groups signature style guitar wise from the get go with a few new flares in how vocalist Nick approaches his delivery. Unlike a lot of HTL songs that have a moderate delivery, these words come relatively quick for the group, but it slows down just enough to make the chorus/hook really reach out and grab you. By the time the second verse hits, the song becomes a much more large scale rock song than originally thought and through references to missing the Midwest the band shows that they still know where they come from. I wish this was on the last album, which granted was one of my favorites of 2008, but could have used this song to send it over the top. The second new track, “Pulse” is a bit less exciting for me as it sounds like a b-side to Skip School, Start Fights, but it’s solid for a summer pop rock jam. Nick really comes into his own between these two songs. Regardless of how much this song sounds like older HTL or the first one sounds new, Nick is what ties them together and makes the evolution in sound work so well.

For the covers we’re given one I’m not too familiar with and one I’ve been waiting years to find a cover of. First off, the one I wasn’t aware of prior to now, “Drive Onto Me,” a song originally done by Elliot is a bit different for HTL, but works. It’s a slower start before going into a full power hook and dying back down to moderate between the two volumes throughout. The song itself doesn’t grab me, but the band seems to have handled the challenge of a song outside their own sound pretty well. The second cover is “Snowbirds and Townies” which was originally performed by Further Seems Forever when Chris of Dashboard Confessional fronted the band. I think when a band takes on a song you already love, your bar is set a bit higher and once again, HTL surpasses my expectations. This is another song that’s pretty outside their normal musical atmosphere and Nick is no Chris, but he doesn’t try to be. He makes it his own. In all honesty, the group makes it theirs. I mean, I hope this cover makes more people listen to The Moon is Down, but if it only makes them love HTL more, well, that’s fine by me.

Finally, we get two compelling acoustic renditions. First up, “Tell Me Where You Are” gives us piano and guitar lines with Nick doing an amazing job of controlling his voice and singing wonderfully. The band added some light electronic, atmospheric sounds, but they never seem too out of place. They’ve turned a full on rock song into a near boy band ballad with ease and it’s great. However, the real clincher to the record is the mashup of, “Make A Run For It” and “The Call Out” that ends the record. These tracks both come from the record before Nick took over on lead vocals, so we’re getting to see a version altogether from the get go. If you liked the hidden track on This is A Stick Up… then this will only make your heart beat 3x faster. I know acoustic tracks from a pop punk band aren’t really summer material, but trust me, in this case it is.

For four releases now [2 Eps and 2 full lengths] and even the pre-signed EP, Hit The Lights have continually pushed themselves to get to the next level of musicianship. Where the last record was a summer pop punk soundtrack, this EP shows the band expanding both in their genre and outside of it. I was wondering just the other day what band would be the soundtrack to Summer 09 and it comes as no surprise that once again it will be Hit The Lights. Coast To Coast is a fun and engaging album that will have you singing along before the first rotation is over. Find it and buy it or you’re not getting everything you can out of your Summer.

Score: 9/10

James Shotwell
Latest posts by James Shotwell (see all)
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Hit The Lights – Coast to Coast EP”

  1. Chris says:

    you should put up a track

  2. cat says:

    again they proved to be amazing <3

  3. Liz says:

    Such a good EP.. Hit the Lights is such a talented band