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Redd Kross, Researching the Blues
Merge Records, Aug. 7

08/09/12
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



During the SST-underground ’80s, this Cali foursome stood in a weird middle ground, not as punk as Descendants but not as bucolic as fIREHOSE. Today, that same middle ground is where you find all that’s hot, like OK Go, Strokes, you name it, and so this is as timely as a Sha Na Na reunion tour during the ’50s-loving time of Stray Cats and Pretenders. The band can’t help, however, that it didn’t grow up listening to twee or cheesed-out trip-hop or any other wimpy Franken-rock that’s been in fashion as long as Pitchfork’s been allowed to live, so right off the bat, it does some face-planting, er, flag-planting in the opening title tune. It’s way cool, yes, hard-ass jangle, some proper, polite anger common to Gang of Four (matter of fact, Gang of Four is getting ripped off a little on some of these songs, which points to these mummified oldsters having a passing interest in what all you groovy kids are up to these days, and stuff), and there’s no doubt the guys at Merge Records (who haven’t gone a week without stuffing a press release about this album in my emailbox for like a year now) are hearing commercial — as in Ford Focus TV commercials — potential all over the thing, even the Beatles-type stuff (“Meet Frankenstein”). Does this mean indie rock is saved?  No, but it’s definitely punching back at The Man a little (all together now: about damn time). A —Eric W. Saeger






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