Hot Rod Circuit – The Underground is a Dying Breed
Release Date: March 20, 2007
Stay What You Are will forever be my favorite Saves The Day record, Maybe I’ll Catch Fire is always going to be hold the #1 slot in my Alkaline Trio catalog, and Sorry About Tomorrow will never be replaced by another Hot Rod Circuit album in my heart of musical hearts. By last.fm’s count, I’ve listened to “Safely” 768 times and I’m fairly sure that I’ve emphatically belted out the words “Maybe I could tell you…” along with Andy Jackson every single chance I’ve had. There are some albums that define a band, then there are those albums that define a band for the individual listener.
Needless to say, The Underground is a Dying Breed is not going to usurp Sorry About Tomorrow as my favorite HRC work. However, this is arguably the best Jackson and crew have been since that 2002 Vagrant release. Now with Immortal, a label that has had its fair share of controversy and failure, this one may catch more than a few by surprise if for only that reason.
Not ones to shy away from the “catchy” tag, TUIADB isn’t short on bouncy sing-alongs. MySpace buzz cut “Stateside” kicks things off and accurately sets the tone for the rest of the album with its pacing lyrics and fuzzy guitar-scapes. “Vampire” follows and pleasantly resembles something from a certain band out of Eudora, Kansas’s body of work. “What We Believe In”, a track that showcases Casey Prestwood’s pedal steel guitar, a well-placed tamborine, and creepy rhyming among other things, could easily be the Lloyd Dobler anthem of the Y generation. Other highlights include the raspy, Say Anything inspired “Cali” and the uncredited twelfth track with its barroom country swagger.
Perhaps the greatest thing to be said for Hot Rod Circuit’s legacy is that they’ve never changed who they were. They’ve never tried to reinvent themselves, whether it be for the sake of new fans, more money, or even artistic license. Hot Rod Circuit play their own brand of rock and it’s one they’ve been perfecting since 1997. The pinnacle may have been achieved in 2002, but five years later they’re still bringing a superior product. Yes, it’s true, I adore them.
My friend Bob is John Cusack, only fatter: “Stateside”, “What We Believe In”
Make this tour happen: The Get Up Kids, Say Anything, The Ataris
Not bad. Weird alt-country twang going on, but it works. "Stateside" is awesome, but it should have been slotted in the second or third track and been replaced by something else. It just doesn't sound like an 'opener.'
"Cali" gets kind of cringeworthy though; the band sounds like they're doing a bad Say Anything impersonation in the verses.