If you’ve had your ear on the (cough) pulse of America lately, you’ve probably heard American Hi-Fi’s “Flavor of the Weak” infiltrating rock-radio rotation and the homes of suburban teenagers alike. Thing is, that super-catchy/smarmy single is dead-on indicative of the band’s self-titled debut, despite being the album’s weakest track. On the record, American Hi-Fi can’t make up their minds whether they want to be The Foo Fighters, Everclear, The Smashing Pumpkins, or Blink 182 • either altogether or singularly • the finely dressed n’ tressed four-piece nonetheless delivering some soothingly smooth pop-rockers, 13 tracks all (well, aside from that aforementioned single•). And although some have argued that Bob Rock’s streamlined production jobs have dumbed down Metallica (yes) and The Cult (no), his one here fits the lobotomized material like a shiny latex glove. Still, fine tunes be damned, you just can’t shake the fact that Hi-Fi’s got their eyes set on the “misunderstood teen” demographic, and for that mere aspect, American Hi-Fi pretty much loses any efficacy it otherwise had. A guilty pleasure? More like a damningly implicating one. Already at a Hot Topic near you.
Island, 825 8th Ave., New York, NY 10019; http://www.americanhi-fi.com