"Everybody needs a little devastation," chant Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney to close the Blood Brothers' new album, which actually contains enough devastation to hold most listeners for months. Yet "Crimes" sweetens the Seattle quintet's sound a bit, which makes a big difference. Such songs as "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck" and "My First Kiss at the Public Execution" are almost as confrontational as their titles, but they include melodic passages, honeyed falsetto, jazzy asides and even some "la-la-las" and "oh-oh-ohs." In fact, the title song practically purrs.

Blilie remains a screamer, and circa-1971 Jimmy Page is the gentlest of guitarist Cody Votolato's influences. ("Beautiful Horses" compresses vintage Led Zeppelin into a 1:47 raver.) Yet the Brothers' fourth album -- and first for mini-major V2 -- expands beyond neo-metal bluster. Or, rather, it puts the band's musical aggression in a broader context, making it less predictable. The Blood Brothers still offer plenty of devastation, but they've learned to channel their outbursts into music that could almost be called accessible.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Tuesday at the Black Cat with Against Me and True North. * To hear a free Sound Bite from the Blood Brothers, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8128. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)