A Place in the Sun
Label: RCA
Genre: Alternative
File Under: Sleeping with your clothes on
Rating: 72   

Orange County, pop music heartland! Not that many years ago, few people could've imagined that the home of Disneyland and hotbed of SoCal conservatism would ever spawn an entire scene of bands, hit singles, and national popularity. But the mid- and late-'90s have seen O.C. punk carve out a sizable niche, while aggressive, varied pop-rock bands like the Offspring, No Doubt, Sugar Ray, and others have scored big and repeatedly on the charts.

In its own way, Lit follows in the newly established O.C. tradition, sporting big grinding guitars, easygoing pop hooks, and simple lyrics that can only be borne of good weather, nice beaches, and girls too pretty not to break your heart. In "Zip-Lock," A. Jay Popoff sings, "When I start to blow it/ Would you show me/ What I need to do/ Before you hate me/ I could never live with that/ So tell me/ Before you're better off without me."

With one exception, Lit's songs are effective and fairly catchy, though the band's pile-driving sound prevents them from adding subtleties that might have raised these tunes to another level. That one exception, and it's a big one, is "My Own Worst Enemy," a monster hit and arguably the very model of a contemporary rock single. Not only is the lyric a colorful but remarkably concise tale of post-party woe ("Please tell me why/ My car is in the front yard/ And I'm sleeping with my clothes on/ And you're gone."), but the song is enhanced immeasurably by its smart, visceral arrangement. The verse's syncopated guitar punches set up the terrific vocal harmonies of the chorus in a way that few other tunes can match. The rest of A Place in the Sun is neither as singular as Sugar Ray nor as insistently annoying as No Doubt. For a summer party, you could do a lot worse. Bob Remstein

- from Wall of Sound

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