• Rating: 4.5 / 6

A pop-oriented garage band from Oregon with a spirited hard rock focus, guitarist/ vocalist Stephanie Smith leads the four piece through 10 songs of aggressive angst channeled in radio-friendly time frames. There’s just as much Joan Jett and Blondie as there is Cheap Trick and X in songs like “You’re Not Sorry”, “Golden Gloves” and the steamrolling opener “Do It Big” which could be a distant cousin to The Donnas. Stephanie has the charisma to be a feisty mainstay in the scene, as you feel the ‘uh-uh-uh’ pulsating during the refrain of “Crutch” while using a breathy, seductive delivery in “Late Bloomer” to showcase a mature dynamic expression of words.

Yes there will be moments that many will believe there’s some grunge tinge to the guitars like the main up and down chord strumming within “Low” – but I don’t think Kleveland subscribe to designing their music based on certain trends of chasing the wave of commerciality. You get the feeling that this quartet love to rock out, keep the riffs and measures flowing while maintaining this sense of down to earth harmonies that careen in the brain instantly and never lose hold 50 exposures later.

“Harder” punches through the mix and comes back swinging from opening bell to the final plaintive “It’s Over” acoustic note. I’m sure those who appreciate stripped down female fronted hard rock with a little bit of spunk and attitude will dig deeply into Kleveland – perfect for the youth and college market.