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Wise Up!

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Album Review

The Hard Lessons followed up their 2005 No Fun debut LP Gasoline with the self-released Wise Up! EP. Produced by Zach Shipps (Electric Six) and the bandmembers, this offering shows the group's songwriting chops have grown, while still retaining the core of the guitar/synth-based pop/rock blend from their previous recording. The first track "Bamboo" is a perfect example of their current direction with the repetitive, driving rock riffage of Augie Visocchi set against the backdrop of Ko Ko Louise's retro '80s sounding synthesizer. The lyrical content may come across as just simple rhyming wordplay, matching up words like "bamboo" and "tattoo," but it's delivered with enough passion and gusto to dissuade too much deep lyrical analysis. The group takes it down a notch with the moody ballad "It Bleeds." The vocal interplay between Visocchi and Louise takes centerstage on this song. The way they harmonize on the chorus is haunting and draws you into the somber feeling of the melody. "Move to California" is a mid-tempo pop gem about a Midwesterner lamenting over their significant other's relocation to California. Again this track showcases the girl-boy vocal dynamic perfectly as Visocchi and Louise trade lyrical lines like a couple who've gone through everything together and come out the other side stronger from the experience. If you're someone who likes upbeat girl-guy vocal harmonizing mixed with rockin' guitar and '80s synth sound, then you'll love this EP. ~ Chris "Box" Taylor, Rovi


Formed: 2003 in East Lansing, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Storming onto the Detroit rock scene in 2004, the Hard Lessons breathed new life into the Detroit garage sound and eclipsed it with their own unique blend of Motown and soul and their high-energy synth- and guitar-driven style. With songs that span from loud, rousing rockers with singalong crowd chants to moody, poppy ballads worthy of a stadium full of lighters held high, their style is at once immediate and fresh while also harking back to a sound and energy that most contemporary rock acts seem...
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Wise Up!, The Hard Lessons
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