While glancing quickly at the biographies of Bruce Cohen and Rick Shaffer, the two troubled geniuses behind The Reds®, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 caught my eye.  Apparently, these two contributed a song to the soundtrack of this slice of my youth.  When I dove into Fugitives From The Laughing House, I was struck by the cold, stark, oppressive quality of the disc, sounding like a late-night session between the Velvet underground and the Stones at their most debauched.  “Dum Dum Dice” seems destined for a David Lynch film, or at least a Lynch film from twenty years ago, and it concluded the first part of the emotional journey through music.  The opening group, starting with the spacious “Wild" and concluding with the aforementioned “Dice” quickly gave way to “Big Town,” a far more conventional rock track that bounced with steady drumming and piercing guitar abrasions, which bled seamlessly into "Carelessly."  Fugitives is more than a traditional listening experience, as it feels like film via music.  With pedigrees that feature independent theater to Doors covers and major labels, Cohen and Shaffer have covered a wide array of experiences and construct a sound that could be applied in a myriad of ages.  “Hittin’ the Run” is a bluesy, Peter Gunn sounding track that bubbles with 60’s sensibility, while “Lethal Dose” is a far darker, more solemn piece.  Shaffer’s voice is regularly buried within the sludge of drums and ambient guitars, adding to the challenging nature of the work. In the end, the disc plays out like a great novel, and like all gifted authors, Shaffer and Cohen do not believe in neatly wrapping up their story, nor do they favor happy endings.  I do not want to spoil how the disc concludes, so all those who consider themselves appreciative of unique musical visions should pick this up immediately.

• Rich Quinlan • Jersey Beat • The Quinlan Chronicles