February 12, 2009

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Red, Innocence & Instinct
Provident Records, Feb. 10

Red’s chalice runneth over with hooks, more so than Good Charlotte, further evidence of a happy reversal of fortune for Christian rockers in relation to the general music-scape if you’ll recall past aural catastrophes like Stryper.

Red found themselves basking in a Grammy nomination for their Sony-blapped debut LP, thus it’s surprising that the sophomore jinx is in full backpedal for this self-released full-length followup, an astoundingly decent record that in general refuses to be hobbled by nu-metal rules and bylaws. Singer Michael Barnes is a Gavin Rossdale clone, to be sure, but the axework is fermented from the grapes of recent osmosis, i.e. the bands with whom they’ve toured of late, one most obviously Sevendust considering the too-cool-for-screamo screams. Whether or not they’re singing curse-less lyrics about being clean teens, the band can get furiously heavy when they aren’t focusing on the babes in transparent Socialburn fashion – Korn would be more than happy to own the intro to “Shadows,” for instance. B+ — EWS