The New Bloods

The Secret Life

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The New Bloods carry on the tradition of impassioned, woman-driven punk like the Slits and the Raincoats so convincingly that their debut album, The Secret Life, could be mistaken for a reissue of some long-lost classic, like Kill Rock Stars' Delta Five collection Singles & Sessions 1979-81. Not because the trio tries to carefully re-create the sound of bygone days, but because they live up to their name, pumping new blood and life into their music while nodding to what came before them. Cassia, Osa, and Adee pile so many layers of their voices, bass, violin, and drums into their songs that they end up sounding like twice as many musicians, generating anthemic energy even if they don't write typically anthemic songs. On "Tree," a punk rock forest fable of life, death, rebirth, and independence, Osa's tribal drums branch out into complex vocal harmonies from all three women. Between those powerful drums and their sawing strings, the New Bloods sound primal and delicate at the same time, and while some of their more furious songs ("Fast Asleep," "Eyes") might be a little repetitive, when they find the right balance between brash and vulnerable -- as on "Oh, Deadly Nightshade!," "Blind Mountains," and "The Cycle Song" -- The Secret Life is stunning. Throughout this bravely beautiful debut, the New Bloods sound thrilled to be making music, and the feeling is contagious.

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