Sound: HYTS, a band you maybe never heard of, or maybe for some short gleaming moment in the early-mid 1980's. They came out of San Francisco California in 1983 with this album, and were blocked from stardom by Bon Jovi charting at the time their single from this album - Backstabber, was released, and from an accident when drummer Roy Garcia fell off stage. This is the first of only two albums HYTS ever released (I'm not counting their money grab by their producer called "Eleven Bloody Men" as it's merely a compilation of this and their second album, Looking from the Outside).
The record itself is pretty much a New Wave/Hard Rock album in the same vein as Loverboy around the the same time period. HYTS tends to do 9 songs an album that are Hard Rock, AOR, or New Wave in nature (primarily dependant on weather Guitarist/Keyboardist Tommy Thompson decides to don a guitar or jump behind a synthesizer). A change in the feel for one song is the catch here - the song Tears Will Flow, a very sad love ballad that sounds almost like it'd be more in place on a 70's Neil Diamond record than the record of an 80's AOR band.
Either way, I give these guys an 8, I love their style, I love that early 80's, alien-synth, bone crunch guitar method employed by Loverboy, Night Ranger, Journey, and STYX, and Van-Halen. But that song "Tears will Flow" always has me grabbing for the Skip button. Every track is awesome, from the fast paced "Lady of the Night" with it's awesome harmonized guitar solo, to the equally as fast and far more aggressive "Love Taker". "Back on the Streets" again gives us a story about a down on his luck boy who dies stealing a car, and "This Night's For You" is bluesy, and the single "Backstabber" has it's big chorus. // 8
Lyrics: Overall, HYTS are not a Ric Ocasek or Kurt Cobain type band, they are not deep. Don't get me wrong, I love those guys and their lyrics, but for those who like a massive amount of depth (or at least the ability to get deep) on the lyrics, there is none to be found here, Roland/Pat Little says it like it is, plain face, bold type, more in the Mike Reno (Loverboy) vein, except a bit more aggressive.
Pat tends to sing with 2 different voices, one is more like a supercharged sixties soul singer gone metal, and the other is more like a couch crooner (again, Tears will Flow). His voice really makes this band stand out in a time when "to falsetto, or not falsetto" really was a question.
I'll give it a seven, excellent, but not anything innovative or new, just good classic 80's AOR with some extra balls in the vocal department. // 7
Overall Impression: I'd say HYTS compares most to Loverboy, this album in particular has a similar feel to it, in some respects, as Loverboy's release that same year, Keep It Up (which is another favorite of mine), maybe not a fuck-a-delic as Loverboy's minimalist funk, but this is HYTS, more of a down on the street and edgy kind of band than Loverboy is.
I'd say two thirds of this album sticks in my head, with my favorites being Back on the Streets Again, You're The One, Love Taker, Watch Out, Backstabber, Lady of the Night, and Love Blind to keep it short.
I love the album and HYTS as a whole, the style, the image, the mystery behind how to prounounce their name...is it like the word "Heights" or the word "Hits"? The Album cover, while sparse, is pretty cool, and I got this on a vinyl promo for X-mas, which makes it even more special to this already rare album from this very rare band.
I guard the album pretty heavily, it never leaves my house, and my girlfriend giving it to me only makes it more special, so I have the Album, and an MP3 recording of the actual album to listen to on my Zune/Laptop/Computer/in my car.
Overall, I give it an 8, I really think these guys should have had a bigger day in the sun, and more notoriety in their time, but management, accidents, and marketing would prove to be their downfall. // 8