Third album from UK’s wannabe-Californians A, blending the lightweight punk-pop of Blink-182 with Slade’s glam and the schmaltz-rock of David Lee Roth. Arguably their best effort yet, Hi-Fi Serious is still a pretty uneven affair that sees the band treading the line between the fun and the banal, and not always succeeding with it.
First single “Nothing” is great, a slab of aggressive pop with an attitude, while “The Springs” is a mellow and rather good moment, showing a willingness to branch out a bit. “6 O’Clock on a Tube Stop” quotes The Jam but sounds more like a punkier Police, which is fair enough. And “Took It Away” may be their finest hour yet, all lame and annoying punk-pop, but in a good way.
However, the album soon enough loses momentum and drive, with A continually repeating themselves, churning out the same formulas over and over again in a series of more or less inspired songs. Energy and punch are more often than not being sacrificed at the altar of commercial viability, and once too often A tend to come off as their former tourmates, the dull, jokey Bloodhound Gang. There are certainly songs on here that should see A garnering both more airplay and a new audience. But they have too few ideas, too few hooks and too tired solutions to maintain interest over the course of a full album.
Mammoth Records: http://www.mammoth.com