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Heads Held High 

Do or Do Not . . . There Is No Try (www.h3punk.com)

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Heads Held High's last album had potential, but sounded like it was recorded in a coffee can. So does this one. But the Cleveland vegan/straight-edge quintet now sounds more hardcore and less formulaic punk -- and it's better off for the adjustment. "Superheroes Make Lousy Models" is the band at its best: Guitarists Jon and Jack combine for anthemic one-two punches between shout-the-fuck-along choruses.

"Swing Your Arms Like a Propeller (and Aim for the Nearest Chick)" takes aim at the hardcore scene, denouncing incidental pit violence, then explores the disappointment that's felt when older dudes attend shows packed with kids who have more energy to burn. The band tips its hat to Fugazi on "Not My Enemy," the kind of rhythm-driven song that'll make a pit go truly nuts, whether the crowd is age 18 or 30.

Speaking of CD Review

More by D.X. Ferris

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