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“Together Apart” by Makes My Blood Dance

Some of the music that Makes My Blood Dance has cut so far has had a pronounced punk element critics have easily identified, but with their new single “Together Apart,” the band is exploring more gothic themes than many – myself included – realized they took influence from. While the overall tone of this track is relatively on par with what the band has released to date, the aesthetics are much darker and more emotional than I had anticipated, leading me to wonder just how much depth this surprisingly skillful group has been hiding from the audience so far.

The groove in “Together Apart” leaves the vocal a lot more room to be indulgent, and rather than this taking something away from the heaviness of the instrumentation, I actually think it contributes something to the weight of the track as a whole. There’s a lot more melodic wit to our singer’s command of the material than we’ve heard in past studio works, and this isn’t because he’s got more lines to share; it’s because of this arrangement, which gives him far more of the spotlight than he was receiving in some of MMBD’s earliest work.

These guitars are still packing a lot of tonal intensity, and although there’s a more industrial edge to the overdrive they’re framed with, I don’t think we’re losing any of the rock luster that this band has been building their reputation on. There are different ways to be heavy, through distortion and compositional posturing the same, and these guys want us to know that they aren’t embracing singularities when it comes to making new music.

They like the multidimensionality of the alternative rock model, and they’re flirting with it quite liberally in “Together Apart” without losing any of the focus they’ve been utilizing as a group so far. In the music video for this song, the goth element is visually present in addition to what we’re hearing in the soundtrack, and I think it’s something Makes My Blood Dance wears really well. They’re not quite The Cure, but there’s enough of a crossover, latter Misfits-esque feel to these images that I feel like they’re trying to tip their cap to the greats without necessarily paying a direct homage to any specific group or era, which is more than what some of their retro-obsessed contemporaries on either side of the dial have been able to muster up in or outside of the studio recently.

All in all, I think that while “Together Apart” is an experiment for Makes My Blood Dance, it’s one that they’re not going to regret engaging in at this stage of their career together. It’s revealing of their capacity for artistic development, and it’s not at all where I thought they were going to take this sound as they gained more ground on the mainstream. No matter how you look at it, this single is progress, and it’s the kind of release that is bound to have everyone from their serious fans to casual listeners talking.

Mindy McCall

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