Record Review 

Detroit's the Von Bondies are counted among the new Motor City breed, shunning soul for spirit. Alongside the White Stripes, Electric Six, Soledad Brothers, etc., the group barely acknowledges Hitsville, U.S.A. (save a hidden cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" on the group's 2001 debut, Lack of Communication). Instead, these streetwise children mimic the raw power of proto-punk icons the MC5 and the Stooges.

Intensity is what Pawn Shoppe Heart is all about, starting at the foundation where drummer Don Blum abstains from intricate finesse on the hi-hat in favor of the resounding thumps of his toms. From the opening, echoing guitar drones of "No Regrets," frontman Jason Stollsteimer et al opens up on your eardrums. Stollsteimer, linked to head Stripe Jack White (producer of Lack of Communication) as a protege, collaborator and, most recently, personal punching bag, saves all his vitriol for visceral guitar work and emotive, but not emo, wails.

While the Bondies forever will be linked to Detroit garage -- the group even plays on Soledad Brother Ben Swank's name for the blues stomp "Been Swank" -- there is plenty in Heart that proves the Bondies can widen in scope. Stollsteimer grew up on the Animals, and psychedelia bleeds in on the fuzz-ballad "Mairead." When flanking ladies Carrie Smith and Marcie Bolen assert themselves, they evoke Sleater-Kinney ("Not That Social") and the Go-Gos ("The Fever"). While the oversaturated, but not overselling neo-garage movement heads to its grave, the Von Bondies are assured as a pallbearer ready to move on after the burial.

The Von Bondies play the Echo Lounge Mon., March 1. $8.

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