Sunday, June 28, 2009

Red Rockers: Good As Gold (1983) + Schizophrenic Circus (1984) [1995 Reissue]

Thus armed with no great expectations, Good as Gold came as something of a surprise, starting with the first track. Gone was the raging rhetoric, replaced by a startlingly pretty pop song, "China" filled with articulate, ringing guitars and John Griffith's newly smoothed-up vocals. With ex-Stiff Little Fingers drummer Jim Reilly in the lineup, Red Rockers switched to melodic pop-rock, much like 415 labelmates Translator but with more emphasis on electric drive and generally less-exceptional songwriting.
Good as Gold is consistently good and "China" deservedly became a hit single, but the band failed to really catch on commercially, and returned with an equally bewildering follow-up, Schizophrenic Circus. Seemingly an attempt to become America's Alarm, the LP — produced by Rick Chertoff — goes nouveau-country and encompasses both the anthemic, folky "Blood From a Stone" (covering the Hooters) and a totally unnecessary remake of "Eve of Destruction." Danger sign: too little original material of any significant quality.

Good As Gold + Schizophrenic Circus tracks:

China / Good as Gold / Dreams Fade Away / Change the World Around / Answers to the Questions / 'Til It All Falls Down / Running Away from You / Fanfare for Metropolis / (Come on into) My House / Home Is Where the War Is / Just Like You / Blood from a Stone / Shades of '45 / Another Day / Freedom Row / Good Thing I Know Her / Eve of Destruction / Both Hands in the Fire / Burning Bridges

Red Rockers - Good As Gold + Schizophrenic Circus
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