By Nick Karim
One band that has consistently produced intelligent, stimulating music is The Reds®. Their new mini-album Shake Appeal, is no exception to this rule. Shake Appeal is produced by Mike Thorne who is famous for his work with such bands as Wire, Soft Cell, Nina Hagen and, most recently, the very successful Bronski Beat. Thorne's production highlights the keyboards of Bruce Cohen, and provides an ambiance that was absent on The Reds® earlier albums, Fatal Slide, and their self-titled debut album.
The Reds® have trimmed their lineup by two, and now have just the two core members, Bruce Cohen and Rick Shaffer. Cohen explains, "Two people leaves us open to a lot more things to do and experiment with." The Reds® have been consistent in the delivery of their music, avoiding the trends and pioneering their own path. "We will always rock!," insists Cohen, "I mean I don't want to get caught in the trap of saying, this is the trend for this month — let's be like that. That doesn't get you anywhere. That stuff lasts like a big dance-club hit and you're heroes for six weeks, than that's it."
The long history of the band proves that they can endure, and will continue to do so in the future. It is obvious that The Reds®' music is geared towards the dark side of life, similar to New Order and Joy Division, but Cohen becomes irate when the band's lyrics are called depressing and dark. He says forcefully, "I don't think they (the lyrics) are really depressing. I think we're just being honest with ourselves, being honest with other people; we're not going to sing songs about the loves in our lives, we sing songs about people's inner conflicts amongst themselves, rather than in a relationship with another person. Or like politics, it's about the inner supression of anger or sadness."
Doesn't this abstinence from politics make one interpretation of their name redundant? Politis are just an extension of people, and by singing about inner conflict, The Reds® cover all the politics they care to.
With their new mini-album, The Reds® are testing the waters with their new record company, Seymour Stein's label, Sire. Shake Appeal is the precursor for an album due to arrive early next year. The Reds® plan to slowly motivate their loyal following by word of mouth, and extensive touring. Commercial success will hopefully follow, but the most important thing for this band is to satisfy their current fans. If they can do this, they will have achieved an important goal. Cohen says, "If you do it any other way you'll go crazy, and we've been crazy and we don't want to go through it again."