Hit The Switch’s new album Entropic is good for whipping through trees whilst snowboarding or getting buzzy speakers on freeway rides with the windows down. It rides a breakneck thrash punk wave that keeps coming (a couple songs too long?) and only let’s up for an infrequent breakdown or theme/tone setting interlude (“Their cries were the cries of my father… and in their capacity to suffer: a dog is a pig is a bear is a boy”- concludes the speech leading into a vegan themed battle cry). It’s an album of pure punk joy overlaid with thoughtful socio/political lament and unabashed passion.
It may go on a bit long and the invariable intensity of Hit the Switch’s new release will keep the record in the well worn confines of punk aficionados. It doesn’t bend genre or work towards evolution, but the common punk theme of anger and indifference is buoyed by music steeped in the pleasure of playing loud and hard.
The intro, a 50s announcer voice, describes man reaching for enlightenment and instead dissipating into entropy and blending into speedy thrash unique in its tight musicianship and melodic lyricism with verses ending in harmonies or syllables held high. It’s the formula that runs throughout the album and is infectious if blending into a background punk sound at times.
There are few songwriting highlights on the record. “Associative Forces” has the most commercial appeal and a Propaghandi style motor scene rock to the guitar.
This is followed by an anthem-like song “Down and Out” that soars out of the gate with a lofty, celestial riff and vocals at the top end of their range to match. A recounting of pain and suffering is clothed in the sepia tones of nostalgia providing a warmth and sensitivity to the song. “North Star” makes that similar stab and feels like it will be a crowd favorite with it’s tempo changes and overt pain along with it’s brief interlude echoing old epic punk anthems from Jawbreaker, The Ataris, and Lagwagon. And one more goes there too: “Losing Reverie.” These ones seem to show them at their tuneful best.
Heaviness increases and the lofty poppier sounds are shunned for the darker skate punk of back to back to back songs: “Country Club Circle Jerk,” “Slaughterhouse 13,” and “Prog Reactors.” These songs add to the punk ethos and show inspiration from the extensive resumes the four members have.
Despite getting a bit muddled in the macro, there are periods of thrash punk glee on Entropic with Hit The Switch showing good isn’t always easy to come by but after more than a decade they still know how to find it.