Red Planet

Let's Degenerate

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The second Gearhead full-length from California's Red Planet finds the boys adorning the cover in coordinated black and red outfits that immediately conjure up preconceptions that the music inside will sound like those other fashion plates the Hives and the White Stripes (which wouldn't seem like too much of a stretch, since Gearhead also served as home to the Hives). Thankfully, looks can be deceiving. Red Planet's crunchy guitar attack and big choruses owe far more to power pop than garage rock, and, odds are, the band's members own more Cheap Trick live albums than Velvet Underground bootlegs. The vocals show traces of the playful snottiness of Robin Zander, but this record has the fingerprints of outfits like the Knack, the Nerves, the Flamin' Groovies, the Raspberries, and the Cars all over it. Although the album hardly changes the group's formula, it's a suitable follow-up to 2000s Revolution 33 and is sure to go over well with fans and select newcomers. This is a fun slab of straight-up, guitar-driven power pop with big vocals for those who find the Loch Ness Mouse too syrupy, Supergrass too British, and Superdrag too indie. It's also a surprising foray into power pop for Gearhead, a label normally associated with punks and garage throwbacks.

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