Former Veruca Salt and Letters to Cleo member Stacy Jones” band American Hi Fi has more in common with the Foo Fighters than a drummer gone AWOL. Like the ex-Nirvana stick swinger, Jones” ear for melody is as becoming as his adoration of pop. American Hi Fi”s pop-soaked songs ooze with over-processed vocals, all covering fuzz-filled guitars and momentarily clever shredding.

Paul Wong
Kyle Chandler and Joan Cusack are too cute for TV in ABC”s “”About Joan.”” Awwwww.<br><br>Courtesy of ABC

Claiming in no way to be original, American Hi Fi isn”t a groundbreaking record. It harkens back to post-grunge pop steamrolled with metal solos.

Corgan-style vocals coos open “Safer On The Outside” a song driven by the pulsing chorus and an empty guitarless verse. Stacy Jones” body of work during Veruca Salt probably dropped all of these songs onto eight track tapes during his drummer days, and now he is “unleashing.”

Jones” lyrics are decidedly personal, and at the same time grounded in clich “I”m a Fool”s” hook drives this home. “Cos I”ve been waiting for a girl like you/and I know there”s nothing I can do.”

Assaulting modern rock radio and MTV for airplay at the same time “Flavor of the Weak” ironically plays on the double entendre of “weak.” Garnering immediate appeal with the video-game generation Jones” quips and couples “Too stoned, Nintendo.”

American Hi Fi”s debut is surprisingly respectable, baked in pop chord changes and surprisingly witty tunes. Its lack of originality is crowned by the fact that AHF doesn”t care that they are pulling pop back towards grunge.

After all, the last thing the drummer said before he got kicked out of the band was “Hey guys, check out the song I just wrote.”

Grade: B-

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