PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Lit: self-titled

Will Harris

Lit

Lit

Label: Nitrus
US Release Date: 2004-06-22
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

This review of the new Lit album could start off like the trailer for virtually every summer blockbuster ever released.

The voiceover begins, "IN A WORLD... where pop-punk bands were a dime a dozen�they stood out from the pack." Then we see a shot of the band in all their tattooed glory, over which we hear, "They were barely a blip on the mainstream's radar until the Goo Goo Dolls hit it big with Dizzy Up the Girl." We cut to a shot of a bunch of major label fat cats examining a copy of the Goo's album like it's some ancient artifact, then nodding knowingly at each other and giving each other the thumbs-up sign, patting each other on the back. "After that," continues the voiceover, "the major label suits were looking to sign anyone and everyone with an even vaguely similar sound."

Over clips of the band in action, we hear, "RCA signed them, and they burst onto the major label scene with crunchy hooks and a video starring Pamela Anderson. The world was their oyster. But then, it all went horribly wrong." The last clip is of the band posing for a promo photo; a flashbulb goes off, the screen goes white for a moment, and you see a hand holding the just-taken photo�which is promptly crumpled up and thrown into a wastepaper basket.

Okay, that's enough trailer talk; my throat's getting hoarse from doing the announcer voice. But it sets the stage a little bit, at least.

What happened, in case you're wondering, is that Atomic, the band's sophomore effort on RCA, just didn't shift the massive units. Their sound was going out of commercial vogue, and, if memory serves, RCA didn't put nearly as much of a promotional push on Atomic as they had with the previous album, A Place in the Sun, which may be why the first single, "Lipstick and Bruises", didn't take off.

In other words, before long the members of Lit found themselves re-investigating the world of independent labels.

Surprisingly, however, the departure was of the band's own volition, according to comments that bassist Kevin Baldes recently made to web site RockNWorld.com. "When we signed with RCA, there was this complete family-like atmosphere and everyone was behind us and promoting our CDs," he told the site. "As new people came in and took over, we just felt the love wasn't there anymore in terms of the label seeing the same vision as us. So many of the bands were being dropped (by the label) that it just didn't feel right."

Thankfully, DRT / Nitrus Records shared the band's enthusiasm, which has led to the band's self-titled return to record store racks in 2004.

"Too Fast for a U-Turn", the song that leads off the new album, would have you believe that the band has gone for a darker, greasier sound that doesn't seem terribly interested in catchy hooks; it's straight-ahead hard rock, and it may well scare off a few people. It's an exception rather than the rule, thankfully; the follow-up, "Looks Like They Were Right", is a bouncy number right along the lines of the group's previous work, and the album settles into a nice groove from there. Songs like "Hard to Find", "Throwaway", and "Forever Begins Right Now" are perfect nuggets of power pop. Lord knows there's nothing wrong with that.

Lit have never been ashamed to admit that their music is a combination of the stuff they listened to during their formative years: heavy metal and pop music. That being the case, they will no doubt appreciate the compliment when they read that there are many similarities to more recent Def Leppard albums, particularly on the songs "Times Like This" and "Moonshine". Additionally, the closer "Bulletproof" ends with the band singing, "We're all alright", leaving little question that they sleep with the first three Cheap Trick albums under their pillow.

While it's unquestionable that Lit has pulled off a successful cover of the Cure's "Pictures of You", there's something about its arrival so soon after 311's version of "Love Song" that smacks of a blatant attempt to score a hit. Still, it's such a solid rendition, blending the melancholy feel of the original with the band's own sound, that it deserves to be a hit; it's a shame it couldn't have made the cut for the 50 First Dates soundtrack, which propelled 311's cover to its lofty chart heights.

Lit might not have the indie cool factor of groups like Yellowcard, New Found Glory, or Saves the Day, but their music has easily as many hooks and just as much enthusiasm propelling it. Here's hoping the kids give it a chance.

lit

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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