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CD REVIEW: Hardcore Lounge - Dance of My Life
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/02/2010 - 12:25 AM EST

Artist: Hardcore Lounge
Album: Dance of My Life
Label: Possumwalk Records
Genre: Americana rock
Sounds Like: Judybats, Oingo Boingo, Barenaked Ladies
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Holiday, I Miss Steve, Terrible Time
Weakness: Winded Songs, Lacks Bottom End (mixing)
CD Review: Charlotte North Carolina's 5 piece “Hardcore Lounge” releases their latest CD in 2010. The band rotates around 2 brothers Wes Johnson (vocals) & Chris Johnson (Keyboards, Accordions & Vocals). The 2 brothers have been working on this project off & on since 2001.  

Logging in at just over 56 minutes the CD gently kicks things off with “Terrible Time” a slow moving intro piece that serves up steady beat, classic Americana guitar chops, & passionate vocal delivery from Johnson. I like how this intro piece flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition – with a very hooky chorus to boot. Track 2 “Long Distance Love” is an impressive groove that dishes out infectious melody, well placed flute accents against a solid rhythm section (drums & bass) Track 3 “Arrival & Departure” shifts gears a bit with it’s rock solid surfer groove that showcases infectious melody against impressive guitar chops, well placed harmonies & vocals from Johnson. The music itself has a soothing Americana Rock with a fun zany edge to it reminiscent of classic acts like Oingo Boingo, They Might Be Giants, The Judybats & perhaps a dash of the B52’s. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in “Hardcore Lounge” are having a lot of fun with this & are quite accomplished indeed. Since were on the subject - kudos goes out to the arsenal of amazing players involved – 18 total including the 5 piece band. Kudos goes out to the impressive guitar work (5 players) & impressive bass guitar chops. Equally as impressive – besides the 4 piece standard you will notice rich musical accents from thing slike horns, slide guitar, piano, lush harmonies, Hammond Organ chops, & flute. What I like the most about this band is how much fun they are having with this. o tension whatsoever. They also seem to groove well extermely together, testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. As for Johnson’s vocal abilities it works well within the confines of the Americana genera. His voice goes down smooth & fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively. Johnson really makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with his vocal personality. Mary Allegrucci also sings quite well on “Industry Standard.” All songs are extremely well crafted & consistent across the board. This CD from “Hardcore Lounge” delivers 12 solid tracks all providing zany fun-filled music that is extremely entertaining & comical in nature. From passionate “Just Wait” & “Ballad” to funny “Industry Standard” & “I Miss Steve” to hypnotic “See it in Your Eyes” & satirical “Supersized” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Dance of My Life” the perfect finale statement:

It’s had to find any weaknesses with this CD. I will offer up 3 items. I wish the drums had more solid low end punch, & the snare drum didn’t sound so thin. The mix is overall a bit bright & thin sounding. I wish this CD had more bottom end groove you can hear & feel. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.   

After spending 55+ minutes alone with “Hardcore Lounge” & company I was fully entertained the whole time & happy to have experienced the ride. Dance of My Life is a whole lot of fun to listen to & an impressive musical production from start to finish. This project is infectious, & as the CD progresses you can’t help but get sucked in by all the fun these folks are having. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalogue. The musicianship is first rate; the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of all the players involved is impressive. I guess could go on and on all night about “Hardcore Lounge” you simply have got to get your hands on some of their music to see just what I am talking about. You should start with Dance of My Life.

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