Originally issued in 1982, Born Innocent was the debut full-length release from Redd Kross, a band of suburban L.A. youth fronted by brothers Jeff (guitar, vocals) and Steve McDonald (bass). Aged 18 and 14, respectively, the aspiring punks are aided and abetted here by rhythm guitarist Tracy Lee and drummers Janet Housden and John Stielow as they attack these 16 songs with all the patience of over-stimulated teens and all the subtlety of a slasher flick. The average song length falls below the two-minute mark, during which time Jeff McDonald's whine is rarely coherent above the clamor of his band's brutal rock assault. The punk negation of titles like "Kill Someone You Hate," "Look up at the Bottom," and "Notes and Chords Mean Nothing to Me" couldn't be more appropriate descriptions for this music. "Solid Gold" is a slice of dislocated blues while "St. Lita Ford Blues" disintegrates from a stop-start punk party (complete with jubilant screams) to a raucous three-chord blur. Included for good measure are tributes to both actress Linda Blair ("Linda Blair") and serial killer Charles Manson ("Charlie" and a cover of Manson's own "Cease to Exist"). Though subsequent releases found Redd Kross cleaning up their act, this debut captures them in all their youthful glory; documenting the sound of the McDonalds and company unleashed on an unsuspecting set of guitars, bass, and drums.
Born Innocent Review
by Nathan Bush