Redd Kross: Redd Kross [Album Review]

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Redd Kross
Redd Kross
In The Red Records [2024]

Album Overview: Redd Kross was formed in 1979 by brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald in Hawthorne, Los Angeles. Initially fueled by punk rock energy, they quickly made a name for themselves by opening for Black Flag. Over the years, they evolved into the renowned indie-rock band you hear today, known for their catchy power chords, towering choruses, and playful lyrical references. The self-titled Redd Kross is an 18-track double album that encapsulates the essence of Redd Kross’s energy while pushing their boundaries. It is their first major release since 2019’s Beyond The Door and serves as a testament to their enduring passion for music and their ability to adapt and thrive. The album is full of power pop rockers and kicks off with the energetic lead single “Candy Coloured Catastrophe,” a track that perfectly sets the tone with its vibrant, playful vibe. This is followed by a diverse array of songs that explore various themes and musical styles, from the politically charged “Stunt Queen” to the introspective and nostalgic final track “Born Innocent.” The latter not only closes the album but also serves as a thematic anchor, reflecting on the band’s early days and their journey over the past 45 years. Produced by Josh Klinghoffer, known for his work with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Jane’s Addiction, the album benefits from a fresh, dynamic production style. Klinghoffer, who also played drums on the album, brought a unique perspective and a wealth of musical experience to the project, helping the band achieve a polished yet feverishly fresh sound. Overall, Redd Kross is a triumphant return for the band, recapping their history while paving the way for new adventures in their third act. Admittedly, 58 minutes is a long runtime, and this record is loaded with rock. Could it have used a little refinement? Probably. Do we care at this point in Redd Kross’s career? Probably not. Redd Kross proves with this album that they are not only surviving but thriving, delivering some of their catchiest and best work to date while continuing to inspire both old and new fans alike.

Musical Style: Redd Kross blends ’60s harmonies with guitar-driven indie rock. The album spans dynamic power-pop, psychedelic ballads, and rock anthems, characterized by catchy melodies and electric arrangements. The band’s sound continues to integrate playful and sometimes satirical elements, maintaining their signature style.

Evolution of Sound: From their punk rock beginnings to their current polished rock sound, Redd Kross has continuously evolved. The latest album shows a maturity in songwriting and production, influenced by their extensive experience and recent inspirations like the documentary The Beatles: Get Back. The album’s diversity in style and substance marks another significant step in their catalog.

Artists with Similar Fire: A wide span of styles all come to mind for a connection to Redd Kross’s music like The Beatles, The Melvins, and Sparks. From a power pop side, Redd Kross falls right in line with influential groups like Sloan, Big Star, and Cheap Trick, while newer artists like Motorists, Young Guv, Oso Oso, and Uni Boys also have a similar blend of catchy pop melodies with rock dynamics.

Pivotal Tracks: Key tracks from the album include the opener “Candy Coloured Catastrophe,” which is a vibrant psychedelic pop song with a Dandy Warhols energy. “Born Innocent,” a reflective piece on the band’s origins, contains a great call-and-response type chorus. “I’ll Take Your Word For It” combines personal storytelling with an infectious hook. Other highlights include one of the hardest rocking tracks, “Stunt Queen,” and the guitar-scorching “Terrible Band.”

Lyrical Strength: The album features lyrics that are both playful and introspective, weaving personal experiences with broader themes. Tracks like “The Main Attraction” explore cosmic concepts through the lens of love, while songs like “Canción Enojada” and “Emmanuel Insane” showcase sharp, witty couplets. The lyrical content offers a blend of humor, reflection, and cultural commentary.

Beyond The Door (2019) / Researching The Blues (2012)

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp | In The Red Records

Christopher Anthony
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