Hillcrest Road - Life After Liftoff
Record Label: None
Release Date: October 14, 2007
Hillcrest Road are one of those bands that fall into a difficult category to get right. The genre of pop rock is overflowing with countless generic bands who cannot be differentiated from one another without great difficulty. The aim of the game is to stand out, whether through interesting melodies, decent lyrics, or creative song structure. Luckily for Hillcrest Road, they’ve conjured up a great lineup and have managed to combine most of these features into a blend of pop rock so tasty, it could be boxed and sold in stores worldwide. This collection of songs is Life After Liftoff.
On first listen the tracks that immediately stand out are the potential teenage-movie-soundtrack-hit “It’s Been You,” hook laden “Options Limit Actions,” low key “Marvelous,” and dark instrumental closer “Nice Night for a Knife Fight.” Throughout the record the vocals are consistently strong, supported by well executed harmonies. Vocalist Scott Dangerfield’s vocal flexibility is shown especially well in “Marvelous” where he switches between chest voice and falsetto with great ease in an almost soulful voice, complete with interesting vocal quirks and natural vibrato. This track brings the record down to a much more intimate and personal level which provides a welcome contrast to the upbeat pop rock heard until that point.
If there is one thing letting Hillcrest Road's enthusiasm and potential down, it would be the lyrics. While there is nothing wrong with lines such as “You watch me melt in front of you / ‘Cause that’s just how you do,” there is nothing particularly new or challenging about them. The happy-go-lucky sound Hillcrest Road demonstrate with such ease doesn’t necessarily need anything more, although a bit more substance wouldn’t be dismissed. What they may lack in lyrical maturity is made up for through hook-filled melodies and crisp harmonies.
Hillcrest Road have a great ear for varied melody, heard the whole way through Life After Liftoff - a rare talent in a genre where many records fall victim to the rehashing of tracks heard only a few minutes earlier. Hillcrest Road steer clear of this formulaic route and let each track have its own individual stamp.
The production is accomplished with skilled attention paid to dynamics. There is a refreshingly clear, balanced sound to the whole record. All instruments are audible through the mix, and attention is kept through creative interludes such as the break in “LAL” around two thirds through where everything is stripped back, leaving only drums, a Refused-esque guitar riff, and vocals, which are then chopped and effected through a vocoder. It is these flourishes of productive creativity that Hillcrest Road could - and should - definitely use to their advantage.
Life After Liftoff shows a band full of enthusiasm, talent and with a knack for writing vibrant melodies. This is a very polished, solid effort. Keep both eyes and ears out for Hillcrest Road - they could be well on their way to bigger things.
they seem to know what they're doing, and from communications via email, sound like nice guys also. both good qualities to have!
Yess, they seem really nice. I love that they're doing something a little bit different, but still appealing to the same audience as current popular bands.
I also love the singer's voice. It's different.
Tom (keys) and Chris (bass) are great friends of mine. I'm glad to see them getting love and attention. I wish these guys the success they definitely deserve, because they are extremely hard working dudes.