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Blood on the Wall

This Brooklyn trio's facility with bubblegum-punk and cathartic noise-pop is both disarming and unsettling. The songs on the band's third CD--following the universally praised Awesomer in 2005--balance a sense of rock 'n' roll depravity with romantic decay that makes a listener want to wash his hands after the final track.

The droning psychedelic minimalism of "The Ditch" recalls both The Jesus and Mary Chain and Suicide, while the title track is a completely infectious approximation of what might be the missing link between the primitive stomp of 1960s garage rock and the desperate grind of 1970s gutter punk.

When guitarist Brad Shanks sings, he can wail like a scruffy alley cat, bringing a bristling, loose energy to any tune, as if he were a Richard Hell for the '00s. On the other hand, bass-playing sister Courtney Shanks sings with a lascivious purr that on "Lightning Song" is not unlike the ironic depravity of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon.

The band's secret weapon is drummer Miggy Littleton. He makes the weaker material interesting, and drives the best, such as the catchy, Velvets-style "Rize," with a rubbery take on shambling hard-rock drumming.

It's not as if Blood on the Wall's songs are going to change the world or anything; they shouldn't be expected to do so. These tunes are ultimately disposable and tough to remember after they're done, but oodles of fun while they last.

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