Lit – The View From The Bottom – Album Review
|Fans Of:||Eve 6, Marvelous 3, Gin Blossoms|
|Download This:||Miss You Gone, You Tonight, Nothing's Free|
|Genre(s):||Alternative Rock / Rock|
It’s been eight years since Lit’s last release, eight turbulent years of divorces, family trauma and the sudden loss of drummer Allen Shellenberger (RIP) who had been a member since their initial hair metal days as Razzle back in ’89. I mention Razzle here not just to crowbar in some form of superior ‘know it all’ musical knowledge, but rather to point out that their new album seems to owe a lot more to that sound and the influence of 70’s and 80’s rock music than I would have expected. Lit are a Pop Rock band, they always have been and I guess they still are. They’ve always managed to supply bouncy, feelgood tunes by the bucketload but it’s quite obvious there are also some other influences at play here.
The View From The Bottom starts off with a ‘We Will Rock You’ style anthemic chant and continues with a much more stadium rock feel (including cheesy solo!) throughout C’mon. It seems an odd choice to start the album initially but by the end of the track you are left feeling nothing but valiant and uplifted. Next up You Tonight and Same Shit, Different Drink are two instant Lit classics reminiscent of their Atomic era, awash with Jeremy Popoff’s signature guitar shenanigans. Miss You Gone catches you slightly off guard, things seem to be going a bit Good Charlotte with exceptionally polished production and the introduction of a dance beat. I can’t help but sing The Ting Tings ‘Shut Up & Let Me Go’ over the guitar riff but the chorus is more infectious than ebola. So far, so good…
Now I don’t mean for that to infer that what follows is bad by any means, just not quite what I was expecting from a Lit release. On the following two tracks (The Broken, She Don’t Know) it seems that Lit have been brushing up on their Bon Jovi impressions, I can’t judge them on that as I own a rather unhealthy collection of Bon Jovi’s material myself but it definitely comes back to stadium rock, a bold move which could turn some Lit fans away. Either way, the songs are still very strong, lyrically introspective and tightly produced.
Nothing’s Free has more than a little flavour of one of my all time favourite artists, Ginger Wildheart, making it an instant hit with me, while the 50’s inspired You Did It could have been lifted directly from Lit’s platinum selling A Place In The Sun. The Sambora-esque guitar sound on Partner In Crime could have come off badly but Lit have the songwriting to back it up and it leaves this reviewer grinning from ear to ear when its pedal note 80’s bassline kicks in. This boys and girls, is how to write rock music.
Following that Here’s To Us is one of those staple ballads that girlfriends always seem to adore (it’s the strings I reckon) and I’m pretty sure it’ll find itself featured on a teen movie soundtrack imminently. For me The Wall is the weakest track on The View From The Bottom, yet another anthemic piece, it’s not bad but there are tracks of a much higher caliber already on the album leaving this one feeling a bit hollow. Maybe the reason it doesn’t work so well is because it has that ‘End of an album’ feeling even though it’s not and it could have benefited by swapping its place in the tracklisting with album closer Right This Time, which feels like the logical conclusion to blending Lit’s old sound with their newly found stadium rock side.
Overall The View From The Bottom is a very solid, very polished rock album. There’s plenty for Lit fans of old but also enough to attract fans of a wider range of rock music. Amazingly radio friendly at times but definitely a stand out album in what seems to be a time of 90’s revivals.
2. You Tonight
3. Same Shit, Different Drink
4. Miss You Gone
5. The Broken
6. She Don’t Know
7. Nothing’s Free
8. You Did It
9. Partner in Crime
10. Here’s to Us
11. The Wall
12. Right This Time