FFWD REW

Redd Kross – Researching the Blues

Merge

There may not have been petitions for Redd Kross to make a brand new album but it’s hard not to welcome these legends back with open arms. Formed 32 years ago and active for 25 of them brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald helped birth the L.A. punk scene as raucous teenagers. They might be pushing 50 now but on Researching the Blues Redd Kross are as charged and inspired as anything they did in the last quarter-century. Which is why it’s disappointing to hear them miss the mark with their first album in 15 years. The McDonalds have always had a knack for melodies and riffs (see “Jimmy’s Fantasy”) but there’s not enough of the former and too much of the latter to fulfil this reunion. Songs like the title track and “Uglier” trudge the same kind of middling ground as any average band on the Estrus or Alive! rosters. And though it does have its moments like the sugary jangle of “Dracula’s Daughter” overall it doesn’t hold a candle to their first 7-inch as Red Cross or the awesome power pop of 1993’s Phaseshifter which in today’s ’90s-obsessed musical landscape is more relevant than ever.

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