By: Linda Spielman
Three years in the making,
the latest, self-titled CD from the band Lit
is about to hit the ground running with its June 2004 release. Independently
released, this is the fourth CD from the group and is probably their
best effort to date.
The absence of the group
from the musical radar over the last few years is a culmination
of many things both professional and personal. The primary catalyst
in the equation according to Kevin Baldes, the band's bassist is
the separation with long time label RCA. "When we signed with RCA
there was this complete family-like atmosphere and everyone was
behind us and promoting our CDs. As new people came in and took
over, we just felt the love wasn't there anymore in terms of the
label seeing the same vision as us. So many of the bands were being
dropped (by the label) that it just didn't feel right."
With the eventual split
from RCA, for the first time in their career, Lit was in total control.
Baldes notes that they were able to write music at their own pace
and put more thought and effort into their craft. With the future
of getting a record deal uncertain and typical life tribulations
adding to the mix, a deeper lyrical and musical Lit emerged. Instead
of just penning enough tracks to squeak by to complete a CD, the
band as a whole took over a year and a half to compile twenty songs
to record as possible tracks for the upcoming release.
Through the uncertainty
came a deal with DRT/Nitrus Records. Now the band was all systems
go to record the new material they had been working on for so long.
The love that was found and lost at RCA was soon rekindled with
the DRT/Nitrus team. Baldes elaborates, "The whole family over there
(at the new label) is so awesome. The love and enthusiasm for us
as a band and this CD is there. That is what we needed. We are very
happy with the support they are showing us."
From chatting with Baldes it is evident that the group values input on their music from all angles. They do seem to get the best reactions from the friends and fans who aren't as jaded and skeptical as those who work in "the industry." It is those people that give their honest opinions and reactions to the music."
To further make the latest CD a true testament to the band, they enlisted the help of the fans via their website. After each of the selected shows the band played to showcase the new material, the fans were asked to vote on songs. This polling method set the course of the track listing. However, an apologetic Baldes notes that the one track entitled Over It, which was voted by the fans as their number one pick, never made the cut. They felt that the track just didn't seem to fit in with the vibe of everything else the band was already going to include on the CD. But in true rockstar fashion the band didn't disappoint. They elected to give Over It as a freebie to the fans on their website because it was so well received.
For the first go around as sole producers on the CD, they came out far ahead of the pack. The CD is an incredible listen. Baldes points out that is for the Lit fans, but also for the music lover in general. They wanted to produce something that they would want to listen to themselves being avid music lovers themselves. The experience of co-producing their previous three CDs helped the group collectively spread their wings in controlling a final product they were all proud of in the end.
Everyone in the band has their personal favorite tracks. For Baldes it is Needle And Thread. It was his first venture into writing, composing and arranging everything from start to finish. "I've learned so much from watching AJ and Jeremy write music, that I felt good about tackling this track on every level."
Lit wanted to make this CD something they would go out and buy if they were the average music consumer. They're proud of their growth as artists and wanted this CD to reflect that. "We wanted to go old school with this, " Baldes enthuses. "From the self title, to the AC/DC-esque cover shot of the band. We love great hooks that pull you in and make you want to listen to more. We wanted people to see and hear there is more to Lit than one or two radio hits. We didn't want to get swallowed up by that stigma. As artists, we view this as an art form. It starts with the placement of tracks, visuals, performances and everything else that follows. We so wanted this CD to be something that if you heard one track, you would want to hear all the tracks."
Strong from start to finish, every track on the CD has a different vibe. No one track sounds like the other. There are elements of Simple Plan, Blink 182 and many other of Lit's peers, however, by no means is there any comparison. The CD is one hundred percent Lit. The best way to describe this CD is "drivable." Throw it in your car and go. This is the best driving music I have listened to in a very long time. The production is clear--- every guitar riff, every vocal and every harmony part shines through. The total balance between vocals and instrumental melodies is like no other I have encountered recently.