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Sweeping Promises, 'Pain Without a Touch'

You don't simply listen to Sweeping Promises — you move, you groove, you strike a pose with an effortlessly cool 'tude. The post-punk band's Hunger for a Way Out was released in the middle of lockdown, but every song was made for punk-packed dance parties.

"Pain Without a Touch," a one-off single co-released by Richmond's Feel It Records and Sub Pop (the band's new worldwide label), retains all the elements that made the 2020 debut pop: a hard-picked punk bass line, crisp drumming and Caufield Schnug's sparse-yet-splashy guitar work as Lira Mondal belts over a mono mix with an audible mile-wide smile. But what the duo's learned in a short year (and across several different bands together) is structural drama; even as "Pain Without a Touch" pulses with incessant ecstasy, Mondal mixes her powerful vibrato with percussive sighs and, after a brief guitar solo, gets a lil' bit softer now (a la "Shout") to punctuate "some type of new invention / To ease up off this tension." It's a subtle reinvention, but redoubles Sweeping Promises' exuberant energy.

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