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The Driven High 

The Driven High (The Driven High, P.O. Box 609250, Cleveland, Ohio 44109)

Driven High singer-guitarist Michelle possesses a voice so disaffected, you can practically hear her eyes roll as she sings of booze, battered hearts, and breaking out in hives. Her unflappability largely defines The Driven High, a tough, cocksure disc that is likely to go down as one of 2005's best debuts.

With Michelle swapping lines with bassist Karen, the Driven High tempers pretty, two-part harmonies with enveloping guitars and domineering bass. Full-throated rockers shake their hair next to moody, blues-inflected kiss-offs; it's all fast and furious, with nary a pause. "Breathe, breathe, breathe, motherfucker," Michelle exhorts near album's end. By that point, you really do need a reminder.

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