Hit the Lights: Invicta

Invicta starts out great for a pop-punk album, but hits a brick wall about mid-way through the proceedings.

Hit the Lights


Label: Razor & Tie
US Release Date: 2012-01-31
UK Release Date: 2012-01-31

I have a friend who coined a term for a genre of music: “ponk”. He came up with the term some time ago to embrace a whole slew of punk bands that play essentially pop music, such as Blink 182 and Sum 41. If you combine the words “pop” and “punk”, you get “ponk”. Get it? Well, the Ohio-based Hit the Lights is essentially a ponk band, as evidenced by their latest release Invicta (not to be confused with an EP released late last year with the same name and three of the 11 songs that make up this release). However, Hit the Lights do add an interesting wrinkle to the ponk sound: they manage to convey all of the adolescent angst and black-eyeliner emoness of pop-punk with the bombast and sturdiness of '80s arena rock. When you first hear the cavernous drums of opening song “Invincible”, you have to wonder if Robert John “Mutt” Lange (of AC/DC and Def Leppard fame) had a hand in producing the track. And those keyboards on “Gravity”, I swear, seem lifted right out of a Mr. Mister song.

The thing with Invicta is that its first half is swelling and almost orchestral in its rendering of the ponk aesthetic. However, something happens by the time you get around to “Float Through Me”, the album’s sixth track. The music becomes smaller somehow, as though it were being played through the world’s tiniest music box. All of the hardness and heavy-hitting candour of the album’s first five songs seem to get to get sucked out of a vapour lock and into a massive black hole. It’s as though the band simply couldn’t sustain the unbridled energy they had unleashed throughout the record’s first act. That makes Invicta unfortunately limp and a missed opportunity -- a record that starts out pretty good for what it is and then somehow runs right out of steam. Invicta might have been better, as a result, as an EP -- not the one released in 2011, but one that cherry-picked the first five songs or so and left it at that. As a full-bodied document, Invicta the LP will leave you disappointed, and the real “ponk” sound will be the echo of your hand slapping your forehead, wondering how on earth a band could become so deflated when they burst onto the album sounding so confident and bigger than life. The end result is that Invicta is pretty much for die-hard Hit the Lights or ponk fans only.







'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.


Hip-Hop's Raashan Ahmad Talks About His Place in 'The Sun'

On his latest work,The Sun, rapper Raashan Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop.


Between the Buried and Me's Baby Pictures Star in 'The Silent Circus'

The Silent Circus shows Between the Buried and Me developing towards the progressive metal titans they would eventually become.


The Chad Taylor Trio Get Funky and Fiery on 'The Daily Biological'

A nimble jazz power trio of drums, tenor sax, and piano, the Chad Taylor Trio is free and fun, funky and fiery on The Daily Biological.


Vistas' 'Everything Changes in the End' Is Catchy and Fun Guitar Rock

Vistas' debut, Everything Changes in the End, features bright rock music that pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock.


In Amy Seimetz's 'She Dies Tomorrow', Death Is Neither Delusion Nor Denial

Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow makes one wonder, is it possible for cinema to authentically convey a dream, or like death, is it something beyond our control?


Maestro Gamin and Aeks' Latest EP Delivers LA Hip-Hop Cool (premiere + interview)

MaestroAeks' Sapodigo is a collection of blunted hip-hop tunes, sometimes nudging a fulsome boom-bap and other times trading on laid-back, mellow grooves.


Soul Blues' Sugaray Rayford Delivers a "Homemade Disaster" (premiere + Q&A)

What was going to be a year of touring and building Sugaray Rayford's fanbase has turned into a year of staying home and reaching out to fans from his Arizona home.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.