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***There’s a muted romanticism buried under the caustic veneer of a BLUES LAWYER song. The Oakland four-piece, comprised of ELYSE SCHROCK (THE WORLD), ROB I. MILLER (MALL WALK), NIC RUSSO (DICK STUSSO), and ALEJANDRA ALCALA (PREENING), began as almost comedic side-project to house some of Miller’s more off-kilter compositions. Now the band have become a staple of Bay Area lineups, appearing alongside bands like Sheer Mag, Gun Outfit, and Omni. Hailed as an“instant classic”, 2018’s Guess Work helped establish the band as more than an afterthought, with KEXP placing it at #2 on Sonic Reducer’s Top 10 list. On their sophomore LP, Something Different, the band double down on the witty lyricism and hooky brevity that made their debut so memorable. Across the album the band confront late-twenties ennui and modern alienation, the feeling of finally acknowledging the gnawing pit in your stomach, and attempting a peace treaty with uncertainty. On standout “It’s Not Up to You” Miller and Schrock expound on a seemingly inescapable toxic relationship, feeling powerless to extract themselves from it’s grip. “From the Start” and “Miles Away” see the band wring emotion from rigid drum machines, looking back on the impermanence of fleeting friendships. On opener “Something Different”, the band channel their Riot Grrrl influences to maximum effect, even finding space in the minute-and-half run time for a guitar solo from Russo, who makes his presence known through the LP with deceivingly simple and hook-worthy melodies. Blues Lawyer’s brand of minimalist punk could fit equally well on Flying Nun’s catalog of wiry lo-fi, or amongst the understated slacker-pop of Courtney Barnett’s Milk! Records. Recorded with ANDREW OSWALD in various studios and practice spaces across West Oakland and mastered by Total Control’s MIKEY YOUNG,