Hi Lo Ha is a band that hails from San Francisco. A few years ago, the band’s make-up was slightly different as the group contained a different bass player and a different band member on guitar. That version of the group created two releases as a band. But when the band’s bassist at the time walked away from the group, a little rearranging of their lineup was needed. Today, the current version of the band consists of: Ben Reisdorph (lead vocals, guitar) and Brian Davis (back-up vocals, bass), Willie Rusert (back-up vocals, keyboards, guitar) and James Fisher (drums). With this new formation of Hi Lo Ha in place, the band’s sound contains a strong instrumental approach that makes the listener want to listen to the music alone as much as the completed track that contains the lyrics. Taking this instrumentally strong music, the band just created a new 8-song release. The 2018 release from Hi Lo Ha is called Ain’t Gone Tonight.
The new EP from Hi Lo Ha begins with the track “Cold Weather Clothes”. The music of the track takes the listener back several decades as The Rock and Roll contained within the track seems to bring to mind the sound and feel of music from the duo known as Santo & Johnny. Much of the reason for that feel comes from the guitars that make up much of the musical feel of the track. And like that duo, the music contained within this song has a strong exotic underlying feel to the music. The reverb on the vocals from singer/guitarist Ben Reisdorph as well as the rest of the band gives the song an even stronger exotic feel to the music. The extended playtime on the track truly allows the listener to enjoy the beauty that is contained within the music. Taking the various elements to the song, “Cold Weather Clothes” catches the listener’s attention from the first note and never lets up.
Ain’t Gone Tonight from Hi Lo Ha continues with the track “Come Down”. While the lead guitar on the song still contains the same strong reverb that was present in the previous song, the feel of the music is very different from the last track. The band creates a track in “Come Down” that is much closer to Alternative Rock songs created in the nineties than the older feel of “Cold Weather Clothes”. Just like the track before it, “Come Down” comes with an instrumental sound that makes the listener want to experience the music by itself.
On the track “Guest List,” the band creates a track that feels rather autobiographical while slowing things down at the same time. The lyrics deal with a promise to one of their fans to get them in free the next time the band is in town. The slower pace and easier feel to the music creates a song that is quite different from the songs up to that point on the EP. Like the earlier track of “Cold Weather Clothes,” “Guest List” features a music approach that once again makes good use of the guitars.
Much like with “Cold Weather Clothes,” the track “Radio” contains a sound that is very retro in its style. The band’s musical blend on this track brings to mind what a song would sound like if you took the sixties-era feel of the band The Byrds and mixed it with some influence from eighties-era Bruce Springsteen. The result is a track that, like the title would suggest, is almost begging to be played on the radio.
For the final original track on the release, Hi Lo Ha brings their EP to an end with the track “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend”. Much like other tracks on the release, “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend” comes complete with a style that is more than a little retro in its sound. In fact, the straight-out Rock and Roll contained on the track makes the song feel as if it should have come from Bob Seger. Like the track before it, “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend” feels readymade to be played on the radio. However, in the case of “Thinking’ ‘Bout a Friend,” the track would feel more at home on a Classic Rock format than a Modern Rock format.
After the initial five tracks for the release come to a close, the band reposts three of the tracks from those songs as instrumental. While that move would seem like a rather easy way to create three extra tracks for any other band, for Hi Lo La, it seems like a very good move. This is extremely true for the song “Cold Weather Clothes,” the track that began the release as well as “Come Down” and “Thinkin’ ‘Bout a Friend”. The instrumental part of these songs truly is the best part of the tracks. So by taking away Ben Reisdorph’s vocals on the track, the instrumental part of the tracks is allowed to shine through.
Ain’t Gone Tonight EP from Hi Lo La is a short, but strong release. And while the EP only contains five initial tracks, the addition of the three instrumental versions gives the listener more time to enjoy the sound of the band that they have captured on this release. And the different musical influences that the band brings with them into the EP blend together to create an EP that should be strong enough to gain a following within the old and young alike.
To check out the music of Hi Lo Ha, check out the track “Radio“.
To purchase a copy of Ain’t Gone Tonight from Hi Lo Ha, click on the album cover below: