• Reds
  • 10-Inch Record EP (A&M) 1979 
  • The Reds (A&M) 1979 
  • Stronger Silence (Ambition) 1981 
  • Fatal Slide (Can. Stony Plain) 1982 

The Reds perfected a hard-hitting, theatrical style that makes the music jump off the record and pin you to the wall. Suggesting an educated alternative to the Stooges, or a double-time interpretation of the Doors, this Philadelphia quartet played only at peak intensity, much like a dumb heavy metal band. However, the Reds don’t exaggerate the flourishes or crescendos; instead, they move on rapidly to the next explosion, punk style. This breakneck hybrid is topped off with the tormented vocals of Rick Schaffer, who never seems fully in control of himself.

The Reds’ A&M outing suffers from overstatement: too much sound and fury, not enough power. (The 10-inch EP contains two album tracks plus a version of the Doors’ “Break on Through” and another non-LP tune.) The more recent efforts harden the attack to simulate the effect of getting hit with a tossed brick, while highlighting the clean, surprisingly graceful musicianship. Stronger Silence features “The Danger” and “Driving Me Crazy”; Fatal Slide includes “Five Year Plan” and “Gone Too Far.”

[Jon Young]