American Hi-Fi – Hearts on Parade (CD)

Starting out with a re-tooling of Howard Jones’ “Everlasting Love” as well as The Police, American Hi-Fi make a retro rock track with a disco beat in “Maybe Won’t Do”. Continuing that retro style for “hell Yeah!”, American Hi-Fi has completely restructured their sound from “Flavour of the Weak”, throwing in a little artistic flair from Fine Young Cannibals and Bowling For Soup. Every track on “Hearts on Parade” is this post-synthpunk style of music and surprisingly, however much I wanted to hate it the bouncy choruses of tracks like “The Geeks Get The Girls” drove themselves into residency in my brain and wouldn’t let go! Directly stealing the opening of We Can’t Be Friends” from The Clash’s “Magnificent Seven”, the track seems almost indomitable, still maintaining the touch of The Clash even if lead singer Stacy Jones tries to break its will. Dredging up the spirit of Oasis for “Something Real”, the college-rock aspect of American Hi-Fi is exploited for a greater fanbase; there is no doubt that this looking-back track will be a tremendous crossover hit.

The later part of the disc seems to grind to a halt in terms of creation of new material. The spoken part in “High And Lows” really marks the beginning of this trend, while the tepid “Everlasting Fall” has more to do with a second-rate Erasure song than what American Hi-Fi had triumphed with during the early part of the disc. American Hi-Fi’s “Hearts on Parade” seems more to be a cover album, even when all the tracks on the disc are originals. The amount of inspiration that the band has directly taken from their influences really hinders the amount of the actual band that I can hear on this disc. However, a track like “Where Did We Go Wrong?”, incorporating a ska guitar-line to the same college-rock of a track like “Something Real” gives me an idea when the band gets down to business, that this is what they truely sound like.

American Hi-Fi’s “Hearts on Parade” is surprisingly open-ended for such a pop-influenced album, and perhaps it is Stacy’s previous stint in bands like Letters To Cleo and Veruca Salt that make this album so solid and sprawling. The disc is also a surprise when it comes to the solid bouts of instrumentation that are to be found, with American Hi-Fi working together like a band that has been around for far longer than their five years would indicate.

Top Track: The Geeks Get The Girls, Separation Anxiety

Rating: 6.4/10

American Hi-Fi – Hearts on Parade / 2005 Maverick / 11 Tracks / / /

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