Redd Kross – Beyond the Door (Merge Records)

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Some secrets want to stay with you forever. Beginning life as the result of a minor omission, the sort of misstep that at first you’re too embarrassed to admit, but as time passes and the longer you keep them hidden, those secrets become almost unbearable and the mere thought of having to share them with anyone is mortifying. At least, it used to be when I was younger and cared about things like the opinions of my peers, scene standing, position and credibility. These days, I’m older, a little wiser and know that true happiness comes with freedom and being able to accept, and be, who you are, without worrying about reproach or validation and that ultimately, the only smiles that you’re responsible for are your own and those of your nearest and dearest, who in turn, only want you to be happy. That said, I think it’s time that I finally admitted that this is the first time that I’ve actually heard, or listened to, Redd Kross.

While, even in the smallest of small pictures, it’s a triviality, to me it’s always been a big deal as some of the musicians who’ve passed through, and are still in, their ranks have also played in some of my favourite bands and being something of a completist, I like to know as much as I can about the things that make my heart beat a little faster. I guess it’s a geek thing. Whatever it is, I dropped the ball for more than three decades with this legendary LA Punk outfit and Beyond the Door has finally allowed me to pick up said ball after repeatedly fumbling, and failing to catch, it. And you know what? Redd Kross aren’t anything like I expected them, or what I’d secretly built them up, to be.

In fact, if you put me on the spot, I’d go as far as to say that they’re not really what I, or anyone else for that matter, would call punk rock. A catchy as a catchy thing on its catchiest day power pop band who are heavily influenced by The Kinks, T-Rex, The Byrds and The Monkees, most definitely, but they’re almost certainly not punk rock. If I were a guessing man, I’d say that’s because they’ve evolved musically and have finally discovered who they really are and were always meant to be and left their punk rock roots behind a long time ago and that weighed down by my own embarrassment, I waited too long to satiate my curiosity. Or something like that. But you know what? Sometimes it’s nice to be surprised, to be taken off guard by a band so far out of your usual musical wheelhouse, that you actually pay attention to, and fall a little bit in love with, them and that’s what happened when I finally listened to Redd Kross. I discovered just what it what it was that I’d been missing all those years.  And that ladies and gentlemen is pretty much all I’ve got to say about that.  Tim Cundle

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