RED32 – Red32

Melodic Revolution 2023

RED32 –

Playing a dangerous game, American progressive rock quartet stop moral corruption from spreading its wings with the power of a tune.

If one needed an example of how a change in parts can transform the whole, this platter could provide a non-culinary recipe for going about it, because what started as a sophomore offering of Tony Romero’s VORTEX proved to be so different from the musician’s solo project’s sonic palette as to become RED32, a band in which his former accompanists play equally important roles. Such a collective approach is aligned to the album’s very concept of togetherness as a means to prevent malice from taking over the world – and to the ensemble’s proactive stance, resulting in the disc’s environmentally conscious packaging that uses recyclable and biodegradable substances. Still, no less important seems the record’s melodic beauty.

Not that it’s unsealed from the start, where “Burn Into The Sun” may set the album’s theme and the scene but doesn’t immediately pull the listener into the thick of things, Steve Bonino’s hoarse voice and throbbing bass creeping up on the unprepared audience only to warn them: the following pieces don’t promise any comfort, and the weave of Anthony Romero and Robert Schlinder’s cosmic synthesizers bring about only dark kind of adventure. Neither the platter’s wonder is very obvious in the gloomy and glacial, yet groovy, new-wave of “Evil Never Sleeps” which should reveal the ensemble’s lyrical underbelly and their tentative merriment, with Eric Confer’s guitars ragin’ an’ ravin’. However, the foursome’s full force will be apparent in the infectious “A Place To Call Home” whose rhythms and soft vocals take those ready and willing to forget about everything, the “multi-planetary citizens of life” the group sing of, to the dancefloor and slide into sweet delirium.

So once “Light Bearing Creatures” displays the rainbow-colored rapture of its multilayered pop harmonies, there’s no return to the preceding bleakness. And though the hypnotically slow “Flow” wraps its folk-informed fusion in gothic velvet, rendering the song’s despair irresistible, the heartbeat-enhanced “The Very First Band In Space” finally, with falsetto at the fore, allows the quartet’s piano-anchored glitter to shine ever brilliantly, if still unhurriedly – unlike the predatorily pulsing “Mean” that bristles with sharp, metallic riffs, swells with taut twang, and surges with faux orchestral splashes. But then, there are outlandish “Slow Burn” and “Space Rider” to deliver home the collective’s progressive rock credentials in style, the artsy drift of the former and the acid-jazzy slant of the latter opening fresh panoramas, the fetching, psychedelic vistas far removed from the record’s murky beginning.

This trip is perilous but well worth embarking on.


August 9, 2023

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