|■ The Reds® (from Philadelphia, PA) follow-up their critically acclaimed 2007 album, Fugitives From The Laughing House, with a rock n' roll noir in three acts entitled, Early Nothing. The record was made over a period of time, developing a hypnotic quality leaving the listener free to let the subconscious play itself out, no matter where it goes, maintaining the simplicity of the moment. If you thought The Reds® couldn't get any heavier or darker . . . . you've been warned. Rick Shaffer's shattered guitars, and Bruce Cohen's insane sonic keyboards are still there, but bigger. Although, a pure focus of what came before, and continues to inspire them is never more present. Shaffer and Cohen keep exploring their own stream of conscious. The bass and drums supply the bottom and rhythm section from hell, sounding like the bastard child of The Velvet Underground. While Shaffer's vocals sound like a man alone on a starless night, shouting his dark hoodoo against the uncertainty of the world around him.
■ The First Act of Early Nothing starts with, Big Boy, a loud, heavy, stomping menace with metallic guitars and pulsing, grinding organ, combined with lyrics that are not what you think they are, or are they? Sidebuster and Diggin' It, two groove oriented pieces, blend a roots synthesis with relentless, pounding drums, swaying maracas and guitars. An insular blues feel, with Hammond Organ strokes like a late 60's burn at its very best, and synth adding just the right amount of color and mood.
■ Early Nothing starts the second act with a cerebral center piece entitled,Endless, followed by Night Must Fall and Laying Low, a slower dense rocker that hits in the middle like a Bowie/Ronson era gem, ending with a fuzzed-out guitar rave up. Shaffer's vocal sounds like a lost soul looking for a way out, while Cohen provides an atmosphere as dark and deep as you can go. These three songs show where the band's film roots really come into play. The textures and ambient walls throughout, rising and falling within the songs, provide a truly haunting sound.
■ Where We Belong, a Mississippi Hill country groove with a great early Animals keyboard hook, backward guitar parts form a wall of sound, that drives you through town to a world where no right is wrong. A Few Dollars More, inspired by filmmaker Amy Berg's exposing documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil," meshed with an electronic piece written by Cohen, who delivers an ending on keyboards that leave the listener in free flight.
■ Then, just when you're awash in the mood, and starting to feel safe and comfortable, The Reds® throw you a curve by starting the third act blasting away with, So Long, an out and out straight ahead rocker that will make you get up and scream . . . . always a good thing. The grand finale,Strangeness, a Bo Diddley-on-acid-shake-down ends Early Nothing with a guitar and keyboard wall of sound, losing control with an exercise of raw power that takes the listener to the edge. The Reds® know injustice, excess and greed ensure there are no guarantees in this life, and Shaffer's asks, "Don't you feel it . . . . its getting closer everyday?"
■ With the release of, Early Nothing, The Reds®, shaman of dark, brooding, loud rock continue to explore and define their sound.