10-Inch Record [EP]

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The late '70s and early '80s marked some interesting attempts to counter freeze-dried radio play lists and indifferent media outlets. For major labels striving to promote their latest punk and new wave signings, the 10" EP represented the ideal gambit, since they could be recorded at the fraction of a full-length album's cost. This four-song effort is a calling card for the Reds' debut album, which had been produced by David Kershenbaum (who'd also done the honors for British new waver Joe Jackson). The frenetic "Whatcha Doin' to Me" is drawn from the album, along with the moody "Self-Reduction," which boasts inspired guitar work and a killer keyboard hook. Both commodities are in abundance on the bittersweet "Destination," an unlikely ballad, and the Doors' "Break on Through," which the band plays relatively straight, except for some wild keyboard squiggles during the instrumental break. (The front cover art is less conventional, being a drawing of the band members minus noses and mouths, while the back cover boasts "The Reds - Everyone Will Be Green With Envy.") This release succeeds admirably as a snapshot of the band's progress, and is pretty hard to find, so get it if you can.

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