Within 20 seconds of popping in this CD, I had to eject it and make sure I wasn’t listening to new Fall Out Boy demos. The vocal stylings, chord progressions, and mixing all sound very familiar – there’s even gang vocal shouts in the background. Yet despite these similarities, Hit the Lights is very capable of making some noise of their own. Despite this, the CD is permeated with parts that sound exactly like other bands. This EP is 5 songs of infectiously catchy pop-punk that is decently produced and is full of talent, but you have to wonder how much of the instrumentation was indirectly taken from other bands. Still, the verses are full of thick, driving melodies that induce foot-tapping. The second track, “At 6:00, We Go Live,” really fascinated me, basically because it was composed entirely of different sections of pop-punk songs I’d heard before. The drum fills, the stop and go breakdowns, the strumming patterns…it’s all very familiar. Yet I can’t say that the result was anything I didn’t enjoy. Hit the Lights don’t pretend to be anything they’re not – they play catchy, formulaic pop-punk, and they do it well.
The reason all these parts sounded so recognizable is simple – they’ve been used because they’re effective and catchy. While “Save Your Breath” features vocals literally identical to Patrick from Fall Out Boy, it doesn’t detract from anything. There’s not much more to say about Hit the Lights other than they are basically a re-hashing of a ton of other bands out there. The instrumentation in “These Backs Are Made for Stabbing” sounds exactly like a New Found Glory song, while “Loose Lips Sink Ships” sounds like a Never Heard of It song. Essentially, Hit the Lights has created a best-of pop-punk EP. It’s a good listen and the songs are catchy, but it’s virtually impossible to not draw comparisons to other similar bands. Silent Movie Records has a stone on their hands that with a little refining could become a gem. Until then, if you like Fall Out Boy, you’ll love this CD. Pick it up to tide you over until their full-length comes out. Pop-punk junkies will fall head over heels for Hit the Lights while others like me will find it enjoyable, but easily forgettable.