Boston’s American Hi-Fi have been kicking around since the late 90s and they stick with what they know, yet they’re still more than capable of putting a unique twist on every album they release – Blood & Lemonade, their fifth, is shaping up to be no exception. They might not be a band that you’re entirely familiar with, but if you’ve seen any of the American Pie films then you’re likely to recognize some of the band’s older tracks like ‘Flavor Of The Weak‘ and ‘The Art Of Losing‘, and if you liked what you heard then you’re definitely going to love this 2014 take on summer 1999.
As their first material since their 2010 album Fight The Frequency, the opening track is all about reintroduction; it’s a second first impression. ‘Armageddon Days‘ does an impressive job with its quite mysterious introduction that soon slips in to a chorus fit for a teen movie. After establishing themselves, American Hi-Fi offer ‘Golden State‘ up second which also happens to be the second single released from the record after ‘Allison‘. ‘Golden State’ is a lot more similar to the band’s previous work, showing off that they were one of the pioneers of pop punk even if they weren’t as huge as bands like Blink-182.
The lyrics, penned mostly by vocalist Stacy Jones, might not be the most eloquent or intricate in 90% of tracks, but they do their job of entertaining – and most of the time the listener’s attention is likely to be on the face-melting guitar riffs and drums. ‘Coma‘ is one example of this, and even if you’re not relating on a personal level to the lyrics, at least you can dance around your bedroom. Then there’s ‘Amnesia‘ – the title might remind you of the 5 Seconds Of Summer song by the same name, but there’s no doubt that this track is the complete opposite, and aimed at an audience that has more of a backbone. There’s a huge contrast between the huge chorus and the darker verses, but it still manages to sound incredible.
‘Carry The Sorrow‘ actually shakes things up a bit with its slower introduction and engaging theme that’s perfect for the guy in the ‘Pop Punk Pizza Crew’ who’s girlfriend just broke up with him. Despite being a little more tender than it’s predecessors, American Hi-Fi clearly can’t resist a good breakdown – and neither can we!
The record’s finale ‘No Ordinary Life‘ is another one that starts quietly before the vintage pop punk that everyone loves kicks in during the chorus. Though the verses remain gentle throughout, there’s an absolutely killer guitar solo near the end that as a result really elevates this record in to a legendary status. American Hi-Fi, clearly wanting to go out with a bang, give it everything they’ve got as the song draws to a close, putting an end to another incredible record from the quintet.