One of my favorite discoveries from around Ohio in recent years was "Comforts," the second and final album by Russenorsk. It was a grand but gloomy set steeped in the Joy Division tradition, the sound of Interpol's cold robotics morphing into fragile flesh and bones.

One of my favorite discoveries from around Ohio in recent years was "Comforts," the second and final album by Russenorsk. It was a grand but gloomy set steeped in the Joy Division tradition, the sound of Interpol's cold robotics morphing into fragile flesh and bones.

The Athens trio formed as OU undergrads and, like most college bands, dissolved by the time graduation rolled around. Fortunately, that did not spell the end of collaboration for singer-guitarist Tim Race and drummer Zach Inscho.

Those dudes relocated to Columbus, recruited ex-Lost Revival bassist Brad Wilson and got cracking on a new project that funnels the angular angst of Russenorsk into pummeling punk discharges. After months of private preparation, Narrow & the Brights made their live debut last Thursday at Kobo.

Listening to their songs on MySpace before the show, the continued debt to Joy Division and Interpol was obvious, sometimes obnoxiously so. That can be a huge problem in less talented hands, but great songwriting and killer execution make a fine antidote for the imitation blues.

If any apprehension remained, the sheer force of their live show rendered it moot. According to Race, Narrow & the Brights don't want to be a "pretty indie band," and indeed, the sounds careening off Kobo's stage Thursday were controlled but combustible, not quite reckless but definitely relentless.

Despite the tumult, these songs were as beautiful as anything Russenorsk did, just delivered with power and authority rather than propped up like a delicate diorama. Inscho laid down propulsive post-punk rhythms in lockstep with Wilson's insistent bass lines. Race's harmonic guitar blasts filled in the gaps.

I had wondered if they could recreate the textures from those slick MySpace demos as a mere three-piece. Instead, they obliterated them. These guys sounded huge. It was almost enough to swallow up Race's haunting howls, but they fought through the bombast to lend grace and gravity to the proceedings.

And, yeah, Race sounded like Interpol's Paul Banks. And yeah, I loved it.