【review/rate】hit bargain / potential maximizer

released 2018, buzz records.

After a steady campaign with a trio of lyrically quick-witted and ferociously inventive singles, the west coast ‘queencore’ quartet releases their first album at last!  What did I think of it though?  

For starters,  the album is front-loaded with its three singles that do a fantastic job of establishing the overall tone of this record.  I previously wrote that my impressions of “Hell is Real” were that it was a song chock full of frenetic energy, attitude,  and honestly this hasn’t changed a bit!  “Hell” is still every bit as intense and furious as it was on my initial listen last month.  Definitely a strong kick off to the album.

“Capitulate” carries on the high energy with a demented bassline that takes center stage for me, and fantastic guitar work throughout.  It almost sounds like the perfect backdrop for a punk beach party flick from the 90s, there’s a moment in the post-chorus where the guitar sounds surf-inspired and I fucking love it!

Clocking in at mere seconds past a minute and a half, “In Quiet Streets” is the most brief of the offerings on “Maximizer”, but it packs a wallop and is immensely memorable, thanks in part to the enjoyable promotional video that accompanied it.

The meaty midsection of “Potential Maximizer” is where most of Hit Bargain’s dynamic ideas are thrown against the creative partition for me, with various sounds and genres mixed in throughout the run of tracks 4-8.  “Architect” bleeds a sense of pressing urgency through its rhythm and vocalist Nora Singh’s delivery.

“Knavs” is one of the funkier numbers on the tracklist, serving us a deceptively catchy  groove that I was very much nodding my head in rhythm to. A shout out has to be given to the “Control the now / Control the then” outro (at least that’s what I think Singh was chanting until I get a hold of a lyric booklet!), that stood out as an even more memorable moment on top of an already memorable song for me.

“Tourist of my Desire” and “Tourist II” seem to be a pair of tracks judging by their connected titles,  but the latter is the superior cut for me.  “Slap an old face on a new problem / it’s all the same” is a genuinely relatable line, and the verses have an almost call and response style of delivery that I think would translate very well to live shows (damn, now I need to get myself out to see them and hope this happens!).

Nearing the end of the tracklist, “Untying a Knot” is the most relentlessly fun track on the album for me,  a brilliant and upbeat ditty where drummer Anton Hochheim steals the show with his far-out performance.  Keep your ears peeled for the middle eight around the 2 minute mark. It’s a sensational moment with a marvelous build up!

The remaining duo of cuts “Hit reset” and “I was born” are both under 3 minutes and do a really good job at making me want more, but until I come back for repeat listening, they sound like b-sides (which is definitely not a bad thing!), and pale in comparison to how genius “Knot” was.  Maybe i’m just spellbound by the first half of the album though.

“Potential Maximizer” is a tongue in cheek, scalding snapshot of 21st century western civilization, that showcases immense promise for this awesome band.  It stands strong as complete, cohesive body of work, one of the better debut LPs of 2018.  I was definitely impressed and can only hope for more from Hit Bargain in the coming years.

  1. Hell is real ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Capitulate ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. In quiet streets ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Architects ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Knavs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Tourist of my desire ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Tourist II ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Untying a knot ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Hit reset ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. I was born ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Must Listen : Untying a Knot, Hell is Real, Knavs, Capitulate
Skip : None! This record is best digested as a full serving.

You can stream “Potential Maximizer” in full on Hype Machine.
Pre-order a digital copy here, the album is due on 5.11!


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