Review: Redd Kross ‘Researching the Blues’

Release date: August 7, 2012
Rating: 3.5/5

Redd Kross’s latest LP, “Researching the Blues,” the group’s first in 15 years, runs a brisk 32 minutes. The group, which has been around as long as its contemporaries Sonic Youth and The Jesus & Mary Chain, always played a different game. Instead of a fixation on atonal noise and beautiful walls of sound, Redd Kross pursued a path of harmonic punk rock fused with the occasional Phil Spector type girl-group melody.

“Stay Away From Downtown,” the second track on the LP, is a great point of entry for Redd Kross’s sound. It is eminently hummable but propelled by punk energy. Same goes for “Dracula’s Daughter,” though it’s quite a bit more subdued, with the type of jangly guitars and vocal harmonies typical of the ’60s UK invasion groups. Classic Redd Kross. The band duplicates this effort on “Meet Frankenstein,” which, at 1:50, is the shortest song on the record. Sublimity comes in small packages.

If Redd Kross doesn’t have listeners whistling and bobbing their heads at this point, “One of the Good Ones” will do it with it’s welcomed happy handclaps and country lead guitar.

Redd Kross aren’t redefining themselves, of course, but at this point they don’t need to. They were always great at crafting pop songs, while stirring in a west coast punk rock aesthetic; which is exactly what they do on “Researching the Blues,” a welcome addition to the band’s discography.