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Nobunny: First Blood (Goner) 

Rock 'n' roll will remain dangerous for a while longer in the hands of a masked man known as Nobunny.

His latest album, First Blood, does not contain the same hodgepodge of drum-machine tracks, strange vocal effects and purposely out-of-tune guitars that constitute his debut full-length, Love Visions. Dissenters may argue that without the skronks and shouting, Nobunny has lost the edge. First Blood is a streamlining in terms of steady songs, but there is still a mystery to the madness that makes the album compelling. While Love Visions is a raw slab of punk interpretation, First Blood finds Nobunny refining his '50s and '60s pop sensibilities without going totally retro.

"Live It Up" starts with an opening riff derivative of the style of the Shangri-Las that develops into solid power-pop territories. "Motorhead With Me" finds the mostly one-man band stretching his vocal capacity to include some sly, bubblegum-tinged melodies that keep pace with the rest of his catalog. The second-to-last song, "Pretty Little Trouble," is a jumpy rocker that sounds as if it might contain a recorder solo paired with whistling. The album ends with a folksy ballad called "I Was On (The Bozo Show)," a seemingly biographical ditty that disintegrates into demented circus music.

Nobunny is inspiring, because the process is never totally clear. For the sake of rock 'n' roll, I hope it never is.

More by Billups Allen

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