Oh boy, I sound like a teenage female fan whooping and hollering for my favorite band to get up on that stage and rock my socks off. Well, I’m neither a female, and I’m only sort of whooping and hollering, because guys don’t tend to whoop and holler. Or do they? You see, I just finished listening to Lit’s album of brand new recorded material in eight years, which is a milestone unto itself. If you know me personally you know that I’ve been a fan of the band for a long time. Hey, I don’t just grow banded goatees for nothing. There’s a purpose behind it, but that’s another story altogether. It’s just really great to have the guys back in the saddle again after many years on the down low. Not that they were ever gone, but new material would not be forthcoming until now. It’s time to review The View From the Bottom, so grab your drink of choice, sit back, and enjoy yourselves.
Time flies when you’re having fun, but for that little Orange County rock outfit known as Lit it has not been smooth sailing at all the last few years. 2004 was the last year that the band released any new material for the masses to enjoy. Along the way they were met with personal tragedy that culminated with the loss of their original drummer and founding member of the band, Allen Shellenberger, to brain cancer. Bruised, beaten, and scarred, the boys questioned whether they had anything left or if it was even worth it to continue the whole rock star thing. What would Allen have wanted? With that quick hypothetical question asked, the answer was clear.
The band strapped on their instruments and carried on their legacy of rock touring here and there with fill-in drummer Nathan Walker. Several years later the band has now regrouped and is cemented in their current line-up. We’ve got A.Jay Popoff on the vocals, Jeremy Popoff on lead guitar, Nathan Walker on the drums, and the lovely and talented Ryan Gillmor on rhythm guitar, keyboards, and production. One could say that the boys are back and they’re taking names.
What title more appropriate for a new album than The View From the Bottom, right? Having been to the top of the mountain with several hits only to come crashing down into obscurity. The View From the Bottom is a triumphant return to the basics of good ‘ol fashioned rock ‘n roll, with dashes of maturity and self-awareness. In listening to the 12 tracks on the album I was taken a bit back during some of the tunes. I did not receive linear notes, so I don’t know who wrote or played on the majority of the tracks, but will speculate on some. Miss You Gone is the first of the tracks that had me grooving to the beat. This one obviously has Ryan Gillmor’s signature all over it – production wise, but the ONE song that takes the cake for me would have to be The Broken. It’s as if Lit had mind-melded with Kiss to bring you a strong arena rock anthem, from the chanting of the chorus, to the ultimate realization of the message: Stronger, every time we suffer, we find strength in numbers, you can’t take our hope and you can’t break The Broken. It was sublime.
Now with those two (of 12) newer songs, Lit wasn’t about to just plow forward without winking at the audience, as well. Included on The View From the Bottom is the spiritual sequel to My Own Worst Enemy entitled Same Shit, Different Drink (the animated motion video is at the bottom of this article for your viewing pleasure). It’s a grand little song that takes you back to the heyday of the band in all its glory. It really underlines the notion of what the band stands for: Good times. There’s no over thinking The View From the Bottom, because it’s rock ‘n roll in it’s purest form. It’s from the heart and it conveys sincerity.
Okay, enough of the accolades. Let’s get to what I didn’t really care for. The order of the songs on the album confuse me. C’mon is a song that doesn’t have a fast enough tempo to kick off the album, in my opinion. It’s a cool song, but looking back at their past discography, it doesn’t have that sort of bombastic quality to lead things off. Of course, this could be my OCD talking, but the party doesn’t really start until track 3, which is Same Shit, Different Drink. Yes, I know, big fucking deal, right?
In less than two weeks I will be experiencing the full blown tour of The View From the Bottom, as Lit will be taking many songs from the new album and incorporating them into their set list. It should be pretty spectacular and I’m looking forward to it.
In closing I would just like tell the people out there, current fans, former fans, curious folks, that the boys are back on the road to rock and that The View From the Bottom is their most ambitious and focused effort to date. It’s the Lit you still remember, know and love, but accentuated with some new blood, textures, sounds, and all sorts of ill shit. Who would’ve thought that the view from the bottom would look and sound this good? Cheers.
*The View From the Bottom is officially released on June 19, 2012
Same Shit, Different Drink
Miss You Gone
She Don’t Know
You Did It
Partner In Crime
Here’s To Us
Right This Time