April 10, 2003

Test Spin: American Hi-fi

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The Art of Losing signals the return of American Hi-fi, who made a name for themselves with their self-titled debut last year (Remember “Flavor of the Weak”? It was only on the radio every five seconds.) Although recently achieving fame and success with the group, Hi-fi’s members have actually been around for awhile. All are veterans of the rock scene in one form or another; (the lead, Stacy Jones, was drummer for Veruca Salt and Letters to Cleo, even a contender for the final replacement of Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlain.) Jones, who had no prior experience as a frontman of a group, taught himself how to play guitar while on tour with Veruca (now I must say this truly impressed me.) And overall the band sounds good; there’s gritty loud rock in “Beautiful Disaster” and “The Gold Rush,” but also a bit of acoustic on songs like “This is the Sound.” “The Breakup Song” is my favorite, with its ridiculous but funny lines, “You drove me crazy with your OCD/ Girl you’re out of your mind.” But the rest of the CD is rather forgettable. On “Nothing Left to Lose,” Jones vainly attempts to spew cool irreverent, rock-star sounding lyrics that just come across as absurd. “Microphone check this rhyme