American Hi-Fi
Fight The Frequency


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
August 16th, 2010 | 32 replies | 12,262 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Somewhere in between alt-rock and pop-punk, American Hi-Fi find a frequency which has all the hooks you'd expect, and a little bit more to boot.

You can almost tell how bad Fight The Frequency is from its title - that same pseudo-rebellious vague anti-brainwashing bullshit that pop-punk bands have been peddling for years now - and its title-track doesn't do it any favours, either. Let this be a lesson to you: track listing matters. Granted, not as much as getting rid of the mediocre material on your record - of which here 'Fight The Frequency' is the only example - but still, a cursory listen of American Hi-Fi's new album is likely to be coloured by that first impression, unless you're endowed with superhuman patience. That's a shame, though, because the simple truth is that after track 1, Fight The Frequency is good. Really good.

To say that the band which brought us 'Flavor Of The Weak', 'The Break Up Song' and Superman Returns' very own 'The Rescue' have done it again would be to imply that they've done it in the past, which is not really true unless 'it' refers to the creation of an inconsistent, juvenile and awkward release with some very pleasing high points. But 'it' doesn't refer to that, because Fight The Frequency is different; it's slick, assured and interesting, and it honestly takes a few listens to sink in. Pop-punk that's not immediate? Well, really, the way this albums comes across you'd have to call American Hi-Fi an alt-rock band in their own right, and although they still don't break any new ground, this is their best album yet.

The nostalgic/anthemic duality is still present in both melody and lyric, but here it's compounded by a sort of atmosphere, a less tangible quality formed by the mainstays of the band's sound. If that sounds mysterious or weird, it's not, since the band's aesthetic comprises guitars which are two or three notches off clean and Stacy Jones' vocals, ever-so-slightly nasal but with that dash of gravel which implies he knows exactly what he's doing all of the time. The somewhat unpredictable musicianship hooks onto these aspects to form the makings of an album which sits halfway between rock and pop in a place many bands pass through but where few manage to sit still.

Not every song on Fight The Frequency sounds the same, though, and there are heavier and lighter tracks dotted throughout its runtime. But they're not the token ballad or hard-number you come to expect from mainstream rock bands, instead marrying natural ideas to slight tangents; 'Frat Clump' is a song with undeniably heavy guitars and a surprise in the form of screamed vocals, distorted to render the whole feeling of the track frantic and panicked; 'Where Love Is A Lie' is the sort of song that makes me want to mention how 3/4 of American Hi-Fi have been touring with Miley Cyrus, but in a good way. It's a poppy track which makes no bones of its accessibility but still manages to maintain that element of sincerity that doesn't wane throughout.

There's not much more to say about Fight The Frequency, really, except that it's a surprise. By all accounts, 2005's Hearts On Parade was somewhere in between disappointing and atrocious, but the band's 2010 output doesn't just stand up will in comparison to past failures, it also exists as a consistent and fairly compelling release in its own right. It's sometimes one wrong word away from cliché, and it's never experimental, but there's intriguing guitar work, unpredictable structures and incredible hooks galore. It's not likely to break your top 10 of the year, but the slight sense of puzzlement and surprise when closer 'Tiny Sparks' bursts into a euphoric solo out of nowhere is reason enough to pick up Fight The Frequency, and there's plenty more where that came from.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
August 16th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had this written for ages, but it was shit.

This is better.

Album really, really surprised me. Seriously just skip the first song.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2010



30868 Comments


Have some artwork

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Knott-
Emeritus
August 16th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers man much appreciated!

Baphomet
August 16th 2010



7364 Comments


I remember some friend making me listen to a track or two from these guys some time ago.

... we no longer talk.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 16th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ahahaha. They've matured quite a bit since the singles I referenced. This is not even a guilty pleasure really.

Antiquity
August 16th 2010



86 Comments


I'm very confused by American Hi-Fi being more guilty pleasure for someone. I'm also confused as to how they're even that.

Crowe
August 16th 2010



435 Comments


review is great

Knott-
Emeritus
August 16th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks

really good point i'm a moron haha thanks for that

Crowe
August 16th 2010



435 Comments


no prob, alls forgiven

edit: eh, have a rare crowe pos

Baphomet
August 16th 2010



7364 Comments


Ok then, I will give this a listen. I don't think anyone who loves Bon Iver can lie...

Also, good review.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 16th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, well you must be aware I have a weakness for pop-rock in general. But I was all ready to give this a negative review and I was like what.

Also, thanks.

EVedder27
August 16th 2010



6088 Comments


Jesus, Deviant has mod-like powers with that album art.

Sweet review Knott

loveisamixtape
August 17th 2010



5903 Comments


meh maybe i'll givet his a second chance knott.
i was basing my comments off of the only song i listened to, which was the first one

Digging: Keep - Hypnosis for Sleep

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2010



20855 Comments


Halfway between pop-punk & alt-rock is good for me too, so I'd probably like this as much as Strikey... But I'm unsure I could be bothered.

Good review though, as at least I'm thinkling about giving it a twirl.

cinaedus
August 17th 2010



26298 Comments


review is above 550 words
/does not compute.

jk. i had the option of reviewing this for RRR, but i took a pass. doesn't really sound like my thing. good review though.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

AtavanHalen
August 17th 2010



17927 Comments


HE'S SO STONED

NINTENDO

Dryden
August 17th 2010



12928 Comments


super nintendo donkey kong country

MutnikSpusic
August 17th 2010



560 Comments


so these songs are popular?

ReturnToRock
August 17th 2010



3448 Comments


Will be listening to this. I moderately enjoy their first two albums, although I used to like them way more than I do now.

Good review.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 17th 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cheers chambered, yeah the rating was the easiest thing ever



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