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Redd Kross: Redd Kross Album Evaluation


Redd Kross offers a radical immersion within the McDonalds’ multi-dimensional sound world, giving equal airtime to sleazy rockers (“Stunt Queen”), glamtastic energy ballads (“The Witches Stand”), and jaunty pop numbers that sound just like the theme tune to some saucy late-’60s British intercourse farce (“The Shaman’s Disappearing Gown”). Whereas the White Album framework might recommend an anarchic, free-ranging pastiche, Redd Kross aren’t radically reinventing themselves right here: Listening to the file feels extra like rifling via a cherished assortment of basic 45s. Recorded in collaboration with ex-Purple Sizzling Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (who produces and performs drums for a recuperating Crover right here), Redd Kross is a success parade that perpetually walks the tightrope between the McDonalds’ pristine melodic craft and their innate garage-band insolence.

Even when limiting themselves to pop-single proportions, Redd Kross can traverse total universes. A uncommon duet between the brothers, “The Principal Attraction,” begins as an existential acoustic lament earlier than hotwiring their voices collectively and utilizing their pure harmonic energy to launch the tune into area. If Redd Kross are the definition of a cult act, then “Good Occasions Propaganda Band” is their indoctrination theme, a tiki-lounge psych-pop tour that out of the blue drifts into KISS pyrotechnics. And in simply over two minutes, the softcore porn-inspired “Emanuelle Insane” makes use of a backward loop of Redd Kross’ 1981 circle-pit customary “Annette’s Acquired the Hits” to forge an unholy alliance between groovy ’60s sitar-psych and brooding ’80s post-punk.

However Redd Kross is finally a testomony to what one tune refers to because the “Easy Magic”: “Three sacred chords,” Jeff sings, “Their energy shouldn’t be ignored!” And so the McDonalds spend the majority of Redd Kross kicking out the jangly jams with the easy expediency of the Beatles in the event that they minimize their tooth within the late-’70s L.A. hardcore scene. (AI expertise will do no higher job of recreating the voice of John Lennon than Jeff McDonald does on the rousing “What’s In It for You?”) However Redd Kross spikes the McDonalds’ well-worn cheeky angle with a wholesome dose of honest gratitude, notably on the album’s closing autobiographical anthem “Born Harmless.” An origin-story delusion set to windmilling Pete Townshend riffs, the tune means that if the brothers aren’t happy with the documentary and memoir, they have already got the anchor monitor for a Redd Kross jukebox musical.

“Born Harmless” is, after all, named after Redd Kross’ 1982 debut, an satirically titled doc of corrupted youth that opened with a tune a few former baby star busted for cocaine possession. Because the Born Harmless documentary illustrates, the McDonalds have endured a number of loopy shit that might irreparably break much less sanguine spirits, from a 13-year-old Steve being kidnapped by a girl almost twice his age, to Jeff’s substance abuse within the ’80s, to their band’s continual business misfortune. However on Redd Kross, the McDonalds are nonetheless very a lot these Hawthorne children getting their minds blown with every flip on the turntable, eternally gazing on the Paul McCartney and Paul Stanley posters of their bedrooms and dreaming of sooner or later hanging alongside them. “We’re all born harmless,” the McDonalds declare in unison, and after almost a half-century of creating music collectively, they’ve magically managed to remain that approach.

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