I first sat down to listen to this album the way I usually listen to music: at my desk with a pair of headphones on. I quickly realized that that was completely wrong. The correct way to listen to this album is at three in the morning through your dad’s expensive speaker system with the volume turned to eleven to piss off your neighbors.
Hit Bargain’s self-titled EP is the anthemic debut of the genre known as “Queencore.” Known by whom, I can’t really say, so we’ll just call it the return of punk. The rocking sound and rough vocals implore the listener to get up and rebel against the establishment. If I could understand any of the lyrics I could tell you exactly which establishment we’re protesting, but no such luck. When I do figure it out, however, I swear something or someone is going down.
The album opens with a beat that cannot be ignored in “The Circuits That Cannot Be Cut,” setting the tone of being in some underground club in Los Angeles. The rest of the EP never really deviates from this path except for the fourth track entitled “Major System.” While still ringing true to the band’s core sound, it introduces more complex elements that reward an avid listener. It’s screaming verses juxtaposed against the smooth guitar riff and vocals in the choruses make it one of the best tracks on the album.
The album closes with the track “Queening.” When the last note hit, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself wishing that the six-track EP was a full length album. In the age of music where people believe you have to win some sort of television competition to “make it big,” Hit Bargain reminds us that music can still be fun. They’re not some Grammy award winning group; there’s no over-processing or autotune; it’s just a clash of sounds that makes you want to get up and move.
Though a solid EP, it still leaves something to be desired. Whether that be louder speakers or another person to help you flip over a cop car with, I can’t say for certain. I’m confident, however, that they fulfill that desire during live shows, which I, for one, am hoping to get to see soon.