Redd Kross | Researching the Blues

Merge (2012)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  August 7, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

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It's difficult to imagine that Redd Kross once boasted a sound so hard-charging that punkers were crestfallen when the band traded it in for the poppier style that made up 1987's Neurotica, an LP time has let slip through cracks filled by Sonic Youth and the Pixies. Over the next decade, while grunge wallowed in its own misery to the point of implosion or got watered down by second-rate Candleboxes, the Kross kept getting more melodic, up to Show World in 1997, which would be their last studio album for 15 years. Returning after a long sabbatical is always a daunting dice roll, but Redd Kross pick it all back up intact. "Stay Away from Downtown" is the best amalgamation of Cheap Trick melodies ever, while "Winter Blues" goes down a sort of windy Britpop path with an almost Charlatans-like swagger or even, reaching back further, a Beatles-esque tilt. Embracing those basics of simplistic pop, the kind that doesn't need to be over thought, works nearly all of the time, and though a little bit of depth to the proceedings would have been nice here and there, a robust hook will do just as well.

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