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Redd Kross – Redd Kross
In the Red

What Redd Kross have brought to the punk rock zeitgeist is immeasurable and uncompromising. Literal brothers in sonic arms, Jeff and Steve McDonald (singer/guitarist and bassist/singer, respectively) helped put SoCal punk on the map in the late 1970’s as teenage miscreants. Need proof of their OG status? Redd Kross’s very first gig was opening for Black Flag. 

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But what made Redd Kross so beloved—and so distinctive—was and still remains their eternally youthful, rainbow-streaked, Beatlesesque, Cheap Trick-influenced, 60’s-and-70’s-pop-culture-obsessed power-pop nuggets. 

From their groovy 1987 touchstone Neurotica to their underappreciated 90’s-era output, then up through their 2012 comeback Researching the Blues, Redd Kross have trudged on—shredding through their debaucherous and glammed-out “bubble-grunge” without losing a bit of the fresh-faced euphoria they’re known for. 

While 2019’s Beyond The Door extended the hot streak started on  Researching the Blues, the 18-song epic Redd Kross is on a whole other level of Technicolor goodness. The McDonalds—along with producer/multi-instrumentalist Josh Klinghoffer (the ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist and current Pearl Jam touring member) and guitarist Jason Shapiro—blow through one should-be hit after another in seemingly the blink of an eye. Redd Kross might be sprawling, but you won’t find even a flash of filler. Instead, it’s loaded with massive hooks, tingly-all-over melodies, singalong choruses, and sha-la-la harmonies. 

Jeff and Steve prove to be the grunge Lennon/McCartney or Chilton/Bell on Redd Kross, both trading and teaming up on anthemic rippers tailored for top-down blaring. The Jeff-penned “Candy Coloured Catastrophe,” “What’s In It For You,” and “Terrible Band” shatter the ultra-catchy scale. Meanwhile, Steve answers back with his own sugary, ‘60s-style earworms (“Lay Down and Die,” “I’ll Take Your Word for It”) and “Way Too Happy,” which is cut from the Nevermind cloth.     

Decades deep into a monumental career, you wouldn’t expect Redd Kross to hit a power-pop zenith. But they’ve done just that with their self-titled double album—all in their trademark flying colors. – GRADE: A

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