Lit, the Pop punk, power pop, California rock band is back after five years with a new album and a very different sound. They went from California Rock to California Country and why I have no idea. They have always been a rock band; although that sound has changed a little over the years as they have grown as writers and musicians, they were still rock at heart.
Now I will admit, if you listen to their lyrics on their old albums, they could be Country songs as the word-play they do in the songs is similar to what you hear in Country music, only better because it was rock & roll. Their music always made me feel good like I should be partying out on the beach with music blaring and a surf board in my hand (I have never surfed, but I wanted to if there were no sharks and no one watching to laugh).
Country music can make you feel that way as well, but only if it is done right and you are listening to Jimmy Buffet or maybe Kenny Chesney. This album didn’t really make me feel that way. It felt like four guys pretending to be country. It didn’t really feel authentic. They really played up the lyrics to seem country and added a few country elements musically. All with disappointing effect.
First, the album is too long at 14 songs. With today’s attention span of the music buying public, albums should really be back to 10-12 songs at the most. Keep them short and sweet and to the point.
Second, the band usually writes all their songs, but this time it looks like they brought in a little country song writers to help. Not sure why these guys would need to do that as they have always written great songs in my book.
The first single off the album “Fast” was a pleasant enough song, but the country sound made me worried about the rest of the album…which turned out to be somewhat true. If this was the only song like this on the album, that would have been okay and I might have dug it more.
I am being too negative. The album isn’t half bad. There are some decent songs like “Wish I Was On It”, “These are the Days”, “California Son” and “Night in This Life” which would all be better rocked out. The whole album would be actually. Okay, I like “Just Feels Right” and “Good Problem to Have” a little as well…maybe more than a little.
The song “Back to You” reminds me a little of the band’s old sound and one of the better songs on the album. The problem with it is only the fact it makes me miss the old band and their California rock sound.
Now the best song is the last song “Welcome to the Party”. Why? Because it is a straight up rock, party song like they are so good at doing. It is the shining reminder of how good they can be and the song would be great live. Also, A. Jay sings a little like Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot and that is never a bad thing.
I won’t go over the rest of the album because I think you get my point. Their new “California Country” sound is too much a departure from what you expect that it becomes a little of a disappointment. What makes it worse is the little reminders of how good they could be if the songs were in their normal style. I am all for trying new things and the band has done that in the past, but it shouldn’t be such a dramatic change.
If you like a little more laid back style with a Country tinge to it, then you might actually enjoy it. It holds up pretty well. It was too much for me and didn’t really show anything new for that genre that could make it exciting. Since there are some hints at what they once were I will actually score it as 2.5 out of 5 stars. It could have been so much better and probably won’t get played a lot down the road for me, but a country fan might like it. Let me know what you think if you have heard it.
- Night in the Life
- Good Problem to Have
- All Eyes On Us
- I Could Be Wrong
- Back With You
- Someday Maybe
- These Are the Days
- Wish I was On It
- Just Feels Right
- California Son
- Welcome to the Party
Thanks and have a great day!