Saturday, September 15, 2012

RECORD REVIEW: Hoobastank "Fight or Flight"

2012's "Album of the Year?"
Fight or Flight
Open E Entertainment
Heck yeah – the kids
from Agoura Hills are (finally) back! And with
the September 2012
release of their fifth
record, Hoobastank
has delivered what is
arguably the best 
of the year. 


Featuring perennial members, frontman Doug Robb, guitarist Dan Estrin and drummer Chris Hesse, Hoobastank burst onto the national scene with their self-titled major label debut in 2001.   In ensuing years,  the So-Cal-based combo  unleashed a slew of such modern rock radio staples as "Crawling in the Dark," "If I Were You" and the mega-chartbusting, "The Reason." Then came  the Howard Benson (Daughtry, Seether) produced 2009 masterpiece, For(n)ever – the record that firmly cemented  Hoobastank's  reputation  as the world's preeminent rock band. From such razor-sharp, high octane ditties as "My Turn" and "All About You" to the poignant  break-up anthems, "So Close, So Far," "The Letter" and "Tears of Yesterday," For(n)ever showcased Hoobastank as a band with few musical boundaries.
In 2012, Hoobastank's line-up also included 
2009 acquisition Jesse Charland on bass.
However, that was nearly four years ago – several career lifetimes in today's ever-changing,  fast-paced  music iBiz.  But fortunately,  these lil'  "stankers" have seemingly continued to engage in enough dysfunctional relationships since 2009 to inspire  yet another record's worth of raucous and passion-filled nuggets:

They say what doesn't kill you, well I'm sure you know the rest. If you'd shut up for a second, I could this off my chest. - "This is Gonna Hurt"

I know that you're no good for me, poisonous but I can't leave.  I'm trapped in a no win, a no win situation. - "No Win Situation"

Produced by Gavin Brown (Three Days Grace, Metric), Flight's lead-off single, "This is Gonna Hurt" as well as "No Win Situation" and  "Incomplete"  are aggressive, yet hooky pop/rockers reminiscent of several of their best from For(n)ever and likewise serve as some of Flight's highlights. 

But the  key to Hoobastank's super-human power  is not their awesome ability to rock, but rather their unparalleled songwriting. And  it's when they're not quite so abrasive-sounding  that the true craftsmanship of  Hoobastank's  impeccably  well-written  songs shines best. Hence, "Sing What You Can't Say," "Magnolia" and "A Thousand Words" provide some of Flight's brightest moments.

Simply put, at the end of the day, it truly is all about "the song." And in that regard, Fight or Flight proves that Hoobastank remains in a league of its own.

-Christopher Long
(September 2012)

Author Christopher Long's latest book,
is available NOW on Amazon.

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