Hit the Lights

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Invicta Review

by Jason Lymangrover

Hit the Lights' major-label debut, Invicta, adheres to emo-pop melody as much as their last two albums, but everything feels bigger. Prior to the release, vocalist Nick Thompson explained that he hoped the album would be epic, and all the elements are there. With the monolithic crunch guitar riffs, the stomping drums, the shoutalong hooks, and the choruses ready-made for an arena, all the songs are performed like Arcade Fire or U2 anthems as they escalate into show-stopping crescendos. Taking Back Sunday producer Mike Sapone deserves credit for his attention to sonic detail and achieving a crisp, thick sound. The studio manipulation is more daring than usual, in the silky electronic sprinkles of "So Guilty," the keyboard and software percussion loops of "Faster Now," and the washed-out ballad "Oh My God" (all of which, of course, build to monumental climaxes). Otherwise, these are introspective tales of trying to navigate relationships and breakups, performed with feel-good energy. Essentially, the lighter side of emo. The majority of the work is calculated and formulaic to be sure, but otherwise, this is an example of the correct way to make a graceful progression from punky skater rock to straight-ahead pop. And, unavoidably, the songs are so sonically powerful that they seem, well, epic. As it stands, Invicta is Hit the Lights' ultimate bid for mainstream acceptance and also the quintet's strongest album to date.

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