Mon Frere

Blood, Sweat & Swords

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Mon Frere's volatile mix of post-new wave dance-punk and electro '70s-infused power pop falls somewhere between Green Day, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the Scissor Sisters, with a healthy love of the Damned. The West Coast trio is singularly obsessed with vampires, lycanthropy, and the broken, bleeding hearts of doomed teenagers. As bleak as that sounds, they have a lot more in common with the Cars than they do the Cure, and their full-length debut for Cake Records is both fun and brooding, exuding a wicked late-night energy that conjures up images of Lost Boys-era Los Angeles. Vocalist/keyboard player Nouela Johnston screams with the best of them, but she can vamp it up as well, lending her pained, Gwen Stefani-meets-Björk pipes to midtempo wind-downs like the smoky "Leaving Town" and the full-on lighter-in-the-air closer, "Harsh Winds." Blood, Sweat, and Swords is at heart a fun collection of horror-punk, and like the best of its genre (Misfits, Cramps, Siouxsie Sioux), it doesn't get too caught up in itself.

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