Johnny Hi-Fi: Vicious Cycle of Promises & Apologies
Johnny Hi-Fi: "Vicious Cycle of Promises & Apologies"

Song List: Dear Death, Looking Back, I Should Wait, Until The End Of Time, This Is The Song, Home, Excuses Become Reasons, Familiar Voices, Time To Let Go, Fly Away

The band is Johnny Hi-Fi, and four songs into Vicious Cycle of Promises & Apologies, I’m loving it (and they're not even glam rock). I’m psyched about this album—long story as to why, but this album’s got a killer backstory that involves love, marriage (successful and otherwise), playing in front of 20,000 people in China, becoming a millionaire (and not), selling wine around the world, and learning a shitload about human nature.

As opposed to the circuitous routine suggested by the album's title, Johnny Hi-Fi's Vicious Cycle of Promises & Apologies is a spiritual exploration into self-awareness and emotional rebirth. Though the songs' inspiration may have been an exercise in cyclical frustration, these recordings capture youth, death, and an appreciation for the life lived in between.

The album opens with "Dear Death," an intensely spiritual song written by Johnny Hi-Fi frontman Eric Hsu, who for years lived an openly neutral spiritual existence. From the onset the song sets a quick driving pace, a musical race for life. "Dear Death" culminates in the inevitable end we all face:

i'm all alone, is anybody out there
i'm all alone, does anybody care

take me to somewhere i don't belong
tell all my angels i'm gone

"Home" is a major change—a major-chord-based anthem of hope and optimism.

open your eyes, you've walked another million miles
and open your eyes, you've never even took the time
to open your eyes, you'll see the signs that'll save your life
so open your eyes, tonight and sing a lullaby

The fever pitch of Vicious Cycles... is "This Is The Song." With this song, Johnny Hi-Fi channels a refreshing vibe reminiscent of the 70's song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)," in the aspects of offering hope, optimism, and changing the world into a better place. The choruses erupt in harmony:

then you'll see the sun come out
how does it feel

this is the song, and after all these years
this is the song that makes us breathe
this is the song of hope that goes out to you

...you should stop waiting in line
and you could start changing your life

It took Johnny Hi-Fi three years to complete Vicious Cycle of Promises & Apologies. In celebration, its original release was offered as a free download. Vicious Cycles has since moved to the major online stores, but continues to reward new fans who buy what is Johnny Hi-Fi's best album to date.

Reviewed on 10/17/11