Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Redd Kross: "Researching The Blues" (album review)

It's been fifteen years since we last heard new material from Los Angeles power pop outfit Redd Kross.  Finally, they return on August 7th with a new studio album Researching The Blues.

The time off certainly hasn't done the band any harm.  The songs aren't complex, but they are played with a whole lot of joy.  Bombastic drums and freewheeling guitars combine to convey the sense that the band is truly having fun and getting lost in the moment.  It's quite reminiscent of the rejuvenated Urge Overkill's comeback record.

The album kicks off with a snarled blast of garage rock in the title track. Hooks abound on the guitar-driven "Stay Away From Downtown", a cut that boasts a solo which takes the listener on a runaway train of a ride. "Uglier" is a near-perfect combination of clattery rock and catchy refrain.

The quartet have always had a pop sensibility about them.  That rears its head throughout the record, particularly with the little gem "One of the Good Ones" and the head-bopping rhythms of "Choose To Play". With it's outstanding harmonies "Meet Frankenstein" sound like a fuzzed up, cranked up Apples In Stereo number.

Redd Kross don't venture far from their comfort zone on Researching The Blues.  The one exception is the closer "Hazel Eyes".  They toy with some warped effects on what would otherwise be a standard jangle pop ditty.

It may just be my mood returning from vacation or it may be the beautiful weather, but the fun Researching The Blues may very well be the most appropriate album for my summer listening.

Best tracks: "Uglier", "Choose To Play"

Track listing for Researching The Blues:
  • Researching The Blues
  • Stay Away From Downtown
  • Uglier
  • Dracula's Daughters
  • Meet Frankenstein
  • One of the Good Ones
  • Nu Temptations
  • Choose To Play
  • Winter Blues
  • Hazel Eyes

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