1. Do It Big [MP3]
4. You're Not Sorry [MP3]
5. Late Bloomer
7. Sloppy Seconds
8. It's Your Turn
9. Golden Gloves
10. It's Over
Is Rock 'n' Roll dead? Not if Portland, Oregon's female-fronted rock explosion Kleveland has anything to say about it.
"Harder" is a long-time coming for Kleveland, the follow-up to 2006's self-titled full-length, and 2003's "Everybody Wants To" EP. Line-up changes, countless tours, various record sessions, and plenty of rock later, "Harder" delivers what every Kleveland fan has come to expect: push-and-pull guitar-rock that is as abrasive and loud as it is witty and snarling.
From the opener of "Do It Big", a 70s rock-anthem meets punk-fueled CBGB's glory days reminder, to the title track, its calm-before-the-storm punch a triple-shot of adrenaline meets sweet-and-sassy. Or the hook-laden, melodic snarl of "You're Not Sorry", which proclaims, "You're not sorry you did it, you're sorry you got caught", wears its been-through-it-all scars on its sleeve.
Then there is the country-tingled, biting summer break-up song anthem, "Sloppy Seconds", which finds front woman Stephanie Smith putting down the loud, electric guitars and ripping into you with an acoustic guitar and light rhythm section, ensuring every line from "honey, you can have my sloppy seconds, and I won't 'cause no fuss" to "I wish I could go and be a better man, let's all be friends and shake each other's hands" tears into your flesh with the less-is-more aesthetic sure to make you laugh and cry.
"Golden Gloves" is melodic, but hard rocking, getting you clapping along to the fist-pounding, burning rock that makes Kleveland such a threat.
Album closer, "It's Over" chills as it helps you wind down, another acoustic-based song that leaves you craving nothing; Smith's snarl just as powerful toned down with no noise behind her as it is with a loud guitar and crashing rhythm section propelling her.
"Harder" is the type of rock record that you can blast with the windows down in the summer, while driving down the freeway, put on at a party and get everyone pumped up, or crank loud in your room when you're just plain pissed off. It's melodic vigor, sweet disdain, and unwavering attitude make it the melodic, piss-off rock record of the year, a crushing, spirit-filled romp through tough-as-nails hooks, barbed-wire melodies, and 70s arena glory revisited.