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31Knots 

Talk Like Blood (Polyvinyl)

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Like truants and delinquents at military school, the men of 31Knots roar with frustration, but they never lose their discipline. The wiry trio strikes a good balance between emo and math rock, with riffs that forgive lines like "Hell hath no fury like me."

There's a lot of clockwork in these songs, from the simple strings loop on the title track to the intricate drumwork and quick changes of "A Void Employs a Kiss," and the clean performances mark a natural step up from the group's debut. Joe Haege's throaty vocals also got stronger, promoting him from "kid in a hardcore band" to "smart frontman singing lyrics by some kid in a hardcore band." Talk Like Blood is an engaging record that deserves to shake its fist beyond the emo set.

More by Chris Dahlen

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