The upshot of the arrival, finally, in America of what the colonials quaintly term new wave music is that what was deplored and ignored is nowadays a viable part of any self respecting label's roster. Two years ago their worst fear was to pass on the next ELO, now it's to pass on the next Cheap Trick.
No wonder disco has been so phenomenally popular Stateside; they're crying out for fresh ecitement, just as a diet of hamburgers will make you, sooner or later, crave real meat. I therefore place my bet now that The Clash will, one day, be enormous. Not any day soon though, because, like The Reds®, and unlike The Police, they don't make singles. They can make fine rock songs, but not singles. And they are the short cut.
The Reds®, a Philadelphia four piece whose Anglophilia, a trait of so many US bands, leans towards the recent English developments, achieved their prominence via two superb sides of hard rock thrash out late last year under their own steam. Evidence that, as over here, the self-made single figures strongly as a source of raw material for music machinery.
Both those songs, "Self Reduction" and "Victims" turn up on The Reds® first album in pride of place amongst eight samples of urban metal despair from the pen of guitarist and vocalist, Rick Shaffer.
His concerns are apocalyptic: boredom and social breakdown. The standard subject of punk of latter-day definition expressed in language that — whilst not bearing a wildly original relevance to the situation — nimbly sidesteps all the obvious cliches.
The music's intentions are clear, the territory well-defined; a simple, purposeful drive built on the classic '70's chassis and designed to rock out hard, which it does, even if the material is not always as instant as the oevre demands.
If you close your eyes and pretend you haven't heard it before it's pretty good; if you haven't heard it before it's great, probably the best US hard rock since Aerosmith's "Rocks." A drop in the British ocean, but a beacon in the American night.
NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS - United Kingdom