Album Review: Lit

the view from the bottom (megaforce records)

After discovering Lit's second album, 1999's A Place In The Sun in the stack of glistening, forbidden gems that was my sister's CD collection, the Californians have released their latest effort, The View From The Bottom, harnessing their 90's Pop Punk roots.

After the success of A Place In The Sun, which spawned their three biggest singles (Miserable, Zip Lock and My Own Worst Enemy), Lit are back with their fifth album. Having ventured into the studio late last year with Butch Walker (Panic! At The Disco, Avril Lavigne, Weezer), The View From The Bottom was mixed by Joe Zook (Katy Perry, The Hives, One Republic, Pink), and tells the story of the band's experiences over the past ten years, both personal and collective, including the trauma of losing their drummer, Allen Shellenberger, in 2009 after suffering from a brain tumour.

Although Lit have kept a somewhat low profile compared to their contemporaries like Blink 182, Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray, the band seem to have acquired a new lease of life for this diverse record; a handful of catchy hooks and nostalgia-inducing Pop Rock.

The album kicks off with C'Mon, where a chant-heavy introduction leads into a powerful guitar riff, featuring a big chorus with the feel-good message: "Let's stop messing around, it's all about tonight, it's all about right here, right now." Nothing overly profound, but it captures the band's 'live for the moment' outlook on life.

You Tonight is another catchy Rock number, co-written by Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, Carrie Underwood). Same Shit Different Drink (also co-written with Walker), is a rather cheesy affair oozing with a glam-rock/teeny-pop feel. Stomping percussion, shouts of 'Hey, Hey' and lyrics like "One, two, three, four shots with my friends", make for a slightly cringeworthy listen. But given their past musical style, this is kind of expected.

In Miss You Gone, Lit delve into a dancey, post-punk , while She Don't Know is a bittersweet ballad moving in the vein of soft-rock, featuring the classic guitar solo and cliche lines such as "I'm falling apart....It's breaking my heart" - standard teenage dilema stuff, you know? We've all been there.

The real rock riffs come out in Partner In Crime, with the band making good use of the Voice Box - every Glam band's favourite musical accessory - made famous by Bon Jovi and Alice In Chains, before a more poignant atmosphere is created in Here's To Us. Acoustic guitars, strings and even a hint of bells are featured in this track, most likely to be a tribute to their late drummer.

The View From The Bottom is an immediate ear-catcher, bringing together the group's love of bombastic glam rock production and no-apologies party rock fun. The record's stadium-filler moments are further exaggerated by the heavy, guitar-driven riffs and anthemic choruses, and the band aren't afraid to show their softer side with some mid-tempo, heart-felt offerings. If that's not a progression from their one-hit-wonder reputation, I don't what is.