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Redd Kross: Researching The Blues

Cult LA power-pop kingpins return from exile.

For most bands, 15 years is a hell of a wait between albums. In the case of Redd Kross, it’s not as if the world was waiting with bated breath. Which only goes to show you what a cloth-eared gimp the world can be sometimes.

Researching The Blues belatedly picks up where 1997’s Show World left off, and continues the 30-plus-year trajectory that has taken the band from Hollywood teen-punk brats to one of the planet’s finest – if most outrageously ignored – purveyors of rough-edged, day-glo power-pop. That title isn’t so much a red herring as a gigantic, scarlet-painted whale of Moby-Dick proportions.

There’s absolutely nothing approaching ‘the blues’ here – rather, the likes of The Nu Temptations and Dracula’s Daughter bridge the gap between Kiss and The Archies, all arched eyebrows and borderline diffident vocals. The stellar Stay Away From Downtown is worth the price of entry alone.

They’ve dialled down the trash culture kitsch of their late 80s and early 90s incarnations, thought it’s still likely that the world will remain deaf to its charms. But if it’s quality power-pop you’re after, you’ll need to search long and hard to find anything better.