“No one knows what lies Beyond the Door… but we’re all in front of it.”

So reads the PR blurb that accompanies the all-new eleven-track studio record from South Californian powerpop punk legends Redd Kross, their first new set of songs since 2012’s amazing ‘Researching The Blues’ album, and you know in many ways that opening statement pretty much summed up how I first approached ‘Beyond The Door’, largely because I really did not know what to expect from the band this time around.

With band mainstays Jeff and Steven McDonald promising their most collaborate record since their ‘Born Innocent’ debt from way back in 1981, would the inclusion of Anna Waronker (That Dog), the returning Geré Fennelly, Buzz Osborne (Melvins), and Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) really mess with the powerpop magic formula I have come to know and love the band forever since first discovering them via their genre-defining ‘Third Eye’ album released back in 1990?

Cautiously dipping into ‘Beyond The Door’ the most immediate thing that strikes me is that it is a very “UP” sounding album, in fact  the gangs total commitment to having the best fucking time they can have while they’re all still here is obvious during the stunning opening 1-2 of ‘The Party’ and ‘Fighting’, both tracks sounding like the natural progression to the sixties psych-pop perfection of ‘Researching The Blues’. Guitarist Jason Shapiro and drummer Dale Crover (Melvins, OFF!) are long-time members of the Redd Kross live band, and here they kick off their recording debut with the band in very fine fashion indeed, with both of the opening four to the floor rockers being what I would consider soon to be live favourites.

That live energy continues into the KISS meets Glitter Band swagger of ‘Beyond The Door’ whilst ‘There’s No One Like You’ could very easily be something the McDonald brothers recorded during their post-grunge ‘Show World’ days. ‘Ice Cream (Strange And Pleasing)’ meanwhile is the kind of sugar-sweet bubblegum pop that the band excelled at during their ‘Third Eye’ days as is the uptempo glam slammer ‘Fantastico Roberto’. Phew!! That’s one hell of a set of tunes right there. Tunes which whilst maybe not quite as refined as the ‘Researching The Blues’ album they do possess a vibrancy and unpredictability that record did miss at times.

‘The Party Underground’ is a classic example of this as it sounds like Bob Mould has just popped into the studio and cracked off a tune whilst the closing cover of Sparks’ electro-dance anthem ‘When Do I Get To Sing “My Way”’ really is a truly inspired choice, turning out to a perfect fit for the Redd Kross sound.

So, with that in mind what is the Redd Kross sound here in 2019? Well, it’s probably best summed up the trio of songs that remain for me to mention on ‘Beyond The Door’. ‘What’s A Boy To Do’ is yet another lesson in how to write bubblegum pop perfection whilst ‘Punk II’ thunders along like the Hamburg Beatles speeding their tits off before Lennon and McCartney then get whisked off to Seattle around the turn of the nineties for ‘Jone Hoople’ and all hell is duly let loose.

Look you can stand outside that door forever wondering “what if” but the real magic always lies beyond it.  Redd Kross are most certainly back with a bang with ‘Beyond The Door’ and with US dates already planned with the Melvins we here in the UK can but hope that they will finally return to these shores sometime soon.

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Author: Johnny Hayward