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Hit the Lights – This Is A Stick Up… Don’t Make It A Murder

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    Tell me again how we're easily forgettable
    So formulaic and way too simple to be at all original, yea so we've heard
    It's time to keep your mouth shut while we show you how to rock-n-roll

    This is how Hit The Lights begin their debut full-length album, This Is A Stick Up….Don’t Make It A Murder, by responding to a certain reviewer’s opinion on their EP Until We Get Caught. The Lima, Ohio, five-piece not only deliver on their promise to “show us how to rock-n-roll,” but this album is also one of the first feel-good albums of 2006. Produced by Matt Squire (The Receiving End Of Sirens, Panic! At The Disco, many others), HTL offers us 12 tracks of pop-punk goodness that’ll have you wishing that summer were already here.

    The album begins with the aforementioned lyric from “The Call Out (You Are The Dishes),” a wild rocker that’ll get your fist pumping, as Omar Zehery and Nick Thompson’s guitars collide and the drumming of Nick VanDame crashes. “309” is a fast track that hits you hard and is unrelentless in doing so. “Talk Us Down” and “Sincerely Yours” are full of melody with just a tinge of darkness underneath. “One Hundred Times” is the slowest song on the album about regrets and second-guessing with lyrics like “So make me promises, girl/the kind I know you can't keep/and while I'm losing my mind/I hope you're home finding sleep.” “It’s All The Rage” picks the pace up by hitting you in the face with infectious hooks and rousing group vocals. “Speakers Blown” has a chorus so catchy, it should be dangerous, while “Until We Get Caught,” a song that originally appeared on the EP, will get your body moving as Dave Bermosk's bass sets the beat along with VanDame's fine drumming. But HTL saves their best for last, closing out with the insanely fun “Make A Run For It,” a fast as hell song with witty lyrics that features Colin Ross' voice very nicely. Also, good luck trying to get the chorus out of your head too, because after one listen, it’ll be there for a long time. The real gem in this track though is the hidden acoustic jam found at the end. It is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album and probably will be my favorite acoustic song of 2006.

    Now, while there are a lot of positives on this album, there are just a few things that are weak. The album’s first and last halves of the album are great, but a few of the middle tracks drag down the album a bit (like “One Hundred Times) and I also think they used too many tracks from their EP on this album, although I do enjoy most of them. Another thing is Colin’s voice. For the most part, it fits with the music, but there are some instances where it makes me cringe (an example being in the song “Bodybag”).

    With that being said, that is still not enough to stop me from enjoying this record. It’s no secret I love pop-punk. While my musical taste has changed a bit over the years, I still have a special place in my heart for this genre. This Is A Stick Up…Don’t Make It A Murder is one of the better pop-punk albums I have heard in the past two or three years. This is better than Chroma, Almost Here, and almost every other pop-punk release from the past year. This is the most fun I have had listening to pop-punk since Take This To Your Grave, and I highly recommend this album to you if you are a sucker for pop-punk. For those who need more convincing, definitely check out the tracks AP has put up on Hit The Lights’ artist profile. So, while Hit The Lights debut EP might have been “formulaic,” “forgettable,” and “unoriginal,” they have definitely stepped up their game with This Is A Stick Up… and have released the best pop-punk album of 2006 thus far.

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