The Hot Lies are Adelaide-based, pop-laced, post-hardcore-inspired rock. On their two EPs, they had a decisively post-hardcore sensibility, most likely due to their lead singer being the former vocalist of now defunct metalcore band, I Killed the Prom Queen. Their debut LP is a definite departure from this exact style, without suffering from the dreaded "confused" sound of reinvention. Gone are the screams and returning are the catchiest elements of their previous work, and while it might disappoint the "scenesters" it should be able to appease most of their fanbase. And trust me, the fanbase will grow.
"Emergency! Emergency!" opens the disc with a fast riff, which leads into a frenzied buildup and then a super-catchy chorus. Most welcome, however, are the solid lyrics:
Emergency! Emergency! / I need a kiss to remind me / a modern day great tragedy / with all the lines written for me / I know it's bitter and it hurts / The sweetest tooth gets the just dessertsThe frantic conclusion leads smoothly into "Burn for Me," which is a more mid-tempo song, with slowish verses and a slightly heavier rock chorus. It features some sweet keyboard and a second verse baseline oddly reminiscent of "Papercut Skin" by the Matches.
These opening songs basically sum up what you can expect from the rest of the album: Half is relatively fast, half is relatively slow. This being said however, the songs never seem too similar, or too predictable, as the subtleties of each add to every song, making the disc overall an entertaining listen.
Such instances occur in the very next song, "Can't Stand The Heat," which features semi-epic guitar lines during the breakdown, and again in "Down & Out" with its slick baseline and repetitious nature.
The album closes with "Under Your Skin," which opens with a hauntingly similar riff to the Living End's "All Torn Down," but ultimately becomes another somber number with a slightly more upbeat chorus and strange high-pitched backing vocals after the choruses. Just like the rest of the album, however, it isn't ambitious, but it works. It finishes much like Saosin's latest album, with a gentle piano line and fading vocals.
Overall, the album is unspectacular, yet far from disappointing. Some parts seem slightly uninspired and even occasionally unoriginal, but overall its appeal is undeniable. A great debut effort from a band which, despite having toured with the likes of the Used and Rise Against on the Australian leg of the Taste Of Chaos tour, will surely escalate in popularity thanks to Ringing in the Sane.
[Ringing in the Sane has not yet been scheduled for a release in North America thus yet but it is currently available in Australia. - Ed.]