DENALI [I]The Instinct[/I] Review 3.5 stars (out of 4)

Washington, D.C. band Denali improves on its debut with album No. 2, “The Instinct.” The first half is filled with a fairly new sound for Denali — more aggressive, but not exactly harsh, rock. (Emo fans would like “Hold Your Breath.”) The band is driven by a complex rhythm section and the whisper-to-yell vocals of Maura Davis, who still peppers her parts with straightforward pop and jazz influences. The rest is much like the best moments of the debut: slower, warmer, darker songs — like the sumptuous “Run Through” and the forboding “Nullaby” — that recall trip-hop with its keyboards and darker chord runs. If you see Evanescence as the epitome of dramatic, female-vocal rock, you should give Denali a fair shake and see what you’re missing.

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