DETACHMENT KIT

"Of This Blood"

French Kiss

Unfold the CD booklet of Detachment Kit's second album, "Of This Blood," and you'll find a board game, just as childishly hand-drawn as the rest of the disc's graphics. By comparison, the music is relatively sophisticated.

Or rather, it's rough and fragmentary, but purposefully so. Individually, these 14 songs can seem sketchy, but they constitute a style-hopping suite whose overall impact surpasses the Chicago duo's debut, "They Raging, Quiet Army."

Singer Ian Menard, who also plays drums, guitar, piano and xylophone, tends toward indie-rock yawp, yet the album includes some almost pretty chorales.

The opening "Night of My Death" combines falsetto vocalese with trumpet, and the almost epic "Chronology" erects a multi-tracked choir-boy bridge between the verses sung by Menard and those handled by a deeper-voiced guest singer identified as the Thin Man. Elsewhere, such songs as "Vanish or Vanquish" lunge into a sort of post-punk blues, propelled by Charlie Davis's bass and guitar. The most extreme transition is from the metallic snarl of "Genivive the Countess" to the madrigal-like "Ice Queen," but even when the segues are less dramatic, the frequent juxtapositions keep the album engagingly off-balance.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Thursday at the Black Cat with Les Savy Fav and Smoke + Smoke. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Detachment Kit, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8107. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)