|Redd Kross is back ya'll! After fifteen years of no new studio material and thirty-four years after being infected with a punk urge to rock, the McDonald brothers deliver Researching the Blues (Merge). The album is perfectly in step with today's growing nostalgia for garage pop/rock as well as just being a great excuse to rock. A number of bands on both major-indie and smaller micro labels revel in this kind of torn tank top smelly guitar-centric sound, so I'm glad to hear Redd Kross (re)joining the party.
The first thing I noticed about this album is how loud and GREAT the guitars sound. Fuzz galore and plenty of interlocking riffs start my hair a-growing and my butt a-shaking. It's the sound of ugly men banging their curly mops in front of a crowd of warm beer swilling youths. The B.O. is rising in my nostrils as the album plays on. I feel an uncontrollable urge to shout and dance and bang my damn head. I would leave the earplugs in at the festival, but for home listening I'll be cranking it up. Rattle them walls friends!!
The opening trio of tunes all fly by in melodic thrashing abandon. Each one is good, but right now I'd have to give the edge to the title track. It's an example of why kids play in bands. By the time RK soften up and play a mid tempo (and vocal harmony motherfucker!) "Dracula's Daughter," the listener knows this is a killer LP. Really one the band's best for sure.
The power-pop stylings of RK are in sync on every tune. "One of the Good Ones" reminds me of a song Scott McCaughey could have written or a B-side by a band releasing music on the Flying Nun label. "Winter Blues" even features slide guitar lines lifted from George Harrison's bag of tricks. The album is hands down one of the best I've heard all year for pure rock power-pop. Basically, the album is fun listening from start to finish. Redd Kross may have pulled off something most bands never do and that's make a classic long player (an argument can be made for RK's Neurotica, but the new album is at least as good as that one) - a feat made all the more remarkable considering the band's long career and recent inactivity in the studio. Buy this album and blast it loud & proud.