Hit The Switch

Observing Infinities

Written by: PP on 09/09/2009 20:56:53

Caution: extreme bias ahead despite my best efforts of attempting to stay objective and to look at this release from an outsider's point of view - you'll soon see why. The album in question is the new Hit The Switch album "Observing Infinites", a band that sounds incredibly much alike my all time favorite band (and the best band in the world), NOFX. Their previous release "Domestic Tranquility And Social Justice" caught my attention in 2006 because it was released entirely as a free download in high quality MP3 files (3 years ago, it was still rare okay!), but it was a slightly unambitious skatepunk record and failed to make my regular play list rotation. Although it did impress some, considering it was released on Dexter Holland's Nitro Records, the label that houses bands like A Wilhelm Scream, AFI, Guttermouth, The Vandals, Bodyjar, Rufio and many other punk rock greats.

In the last three years however, Hit The Switch have undergone a radical change in sound, perhaps due to their new found DIY ideals (this album is self released). If they previously were somewhat unambitious, then now you could accuse the band of being overambitious, considering they are effectively cloning the sound of the best NOFX recording to date, the 18:21 length punk rock mammoth "The Decline". Album opener "Ancient Sunlight" kickstarts the album with full cylinders in use, with snotty Fat Mike inspired vocals and extremely loosely played technical punk rock riffs. Fuck ups and rough edges are okay, in fact it sounds like they're being encourage, but at the same time the level of technical ability in the lengthy solo is impressive for a punk rock band. Thought A Wilhelm Scream were technical? Think again. "Galactic Alchemy" and "Me And My Friend Rad", probably my favorite song of the record, continues on the NOFX line, reminding me of the faster tracks on "Pump Up The Valuum" as well as those by Japanese NOFX copy cats Nicotine (they're good though!), before "Tidal Wave" introduces a slightly more aggressive hardcore punk stance into the mix. Here the vocalist is shouting his lungs off instead of sloppily singing whilst high on several substances, recalling the band's earlier work. Honestly though, it just isn't as good as the NOFX-inspired tracks despite the "CIRCLE-PIT" gang shouts in the chorus.

"The Leader In Generic Punk Brands" again sounds like it could've come straight off a NOFX album because of the vocal delivery and the mini guitar leads that make the song just so much more interesting, which is okay, but at this point you're already wishing for some variety in sound. Luckily, "Ample Bright" brings in a Set Your Goals-style happy-hardcore sound, where it sounds like the vocalist was exchanged for someone else because he sounds a lot more melodic. It's an okay track, with impressive instrumentals, but like the rest on the album, it's just not as good as NOFX or even Nicotine. That being said, the songs aren't bad either, and the technical licks will keep you interested, and the occasional hardcore punk injection (see "Syndical Proletariate") will one up energy levels, so I'll still have to settle for a reasonably high rating. Had all the tracks been like the extremely good opening three, we'd be well on our way to a great rating.

Download: Me And My Friend Rad, Ample Bright, Ancient Sunlight
For the fans of: NOFX, Nicotine, Set Your Goals
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.05.2009
Self-Released

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