Hot Rod Circuit - Reality's Coming Through (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Hot Rod Circuit

Reality's Coming Through (2004)


I have to give Vagrant credit: They're giving away the best song on the new Hot Rod Circuit album for free. "Inhabit," Reality's Coming Through's opening track, is one of the best songs HRC has ever written; an upbeat pop-punk track, containing hyperactive guitar solos and a catchy chorus, plus a guest vocal appearance from Say Anything mastermind Max Bemis.

It's sad when a guest vocal appearance is the highlight of a band's new album, but that's how it is with Reality's Coming Through, Hot Rod's fourth album and unarguably their most boring and derivative. "Save You" is a horrible pseudo-ballad, "Cheap Trick" contains the worst use of "na na na"s put to tape in quite some time, and "Fear The Sound" is an awkward look into frontman Andy Jackson's strained marriage that I wish wouldn't have been written down. And these are just the songs that are memorable. The majority of the 11 tracks do nothing to distinguish themselves from one another, progressively becoming blander as time ticks away.

The disc contains a few highlights, however: The aforementioned "Inhabit" could be stuck on repeat in my CD player for an hour, and I wouldn't complain. Likewise, "Tell The Truth" is a strong rocker, reminiscent of their Triple Crown days. But overall, the album falls flat on its face (thanks in part to the cardboard production of Tim O'Heir. FYI, Tim: this band ain't the All-American Rejects, so don't try to make them sound like 'em).

Hot Rod Circuit has written an album's worth of catchy rock songs in their six-year career, but they've been spread out over four full-lengths (plus a handful of EPs). It's almost an insult to say that Vagrant would be better off putting out a "Greatest Hits"-type compilation of the band's material, but frankly, that's the only good way to get all their good material in one place. Reality's Coming Through is definitely the wrong place to start, if you're looking for original, hard-hitting Hot Rod Circuit music. I can't imagine the band blowing up from this release, as there's nothing on the album that warrants massive attention (again, outside of "Inhabit"). With Andy on his second Safety In Numbers album, and Casey's new band The Only Children having a record coming out in November, I can't imagine Hot Rod staying together much longer with an album this tepid. It's a shame, because this band really had something. Once.


Tell The Truth
Cheap Trick
Save You