Homespun: Blinded Black

Under the Sunrise (SideCho Records)

Blame it on My Chemical Romance: Today's emo bands aren't content to merely tell us of their broken hearts and tortured minds with simple aggro-punk. Now bands are making a play for the grandiose, crafting mini melodramas with craft and precision. Blinded Black is one such band, and luckily it has the chops to match their ambition. The songs on Under the Sunrise are filled with stops and starts, whip-smart tempo changes and proggy synthesizer lines. "Can You Hear Me Now" pulls off a minor miracle by turning an annoying piece of cell phone ad copy into a plea for connection for lovers on a phone call and between a band and its audience listening on the radio.

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Vocalists Jeff Nizick and Chuck Kraus complement each other nicely, and the bright, clear vocals can be heard over the din of five musicians. Bassist Tyler Hanks finds a way to unleash a bowel-shaking yowl in nearly every song, the kind of angst-filled growl that fits nicely in death metal (even though on an album of slickly produced emo, it sounds like a desperate attempt to add gravitas). The fellows in Blinded Black may be young — young enough that one wonders at the members' preternatural aptitude for misery and bleakness — but they play their music with enough confidence to make these melodramas believable.

 
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