Red Rockers

Schizophrenic Circus

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On their final album, the Red Rockers abandoned the stripped-down power pop of Good as Gold, adding elements of folk-rock and British new wave. This may have been due to a change in guitarists or the influence of bands like the Alarm and U2. Regardless, Schizophrenic Circus' soaring guitars and harmonies evoked the Byrds circa 1966, particularly on a cover of Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," a song whose message was certainly lost on its audience by 1984. A version of the Hooters' "Blood from a Stone" was more apropos, protesting against taxation and economic stagnation. Of the original songs, nothing here quite measures up to "China," but a few tunes are noteworthy. "Shades of '45" offers a unique view of World War II -- from the cockpit of the Enola Gay -- a subject rarely broached in pop music. Sonically, "Burning Bridges" recalls Revolver-era Beatles with its lock-step drumming and psychedelic vocal effects. The gorgeous harmonies of "Good Thing I Know Her" reinforce the Byrds comparison. The remaining tunes are musically pleasant, but a bit thin lyrically. Surprisingly, after consecutive solid efforts the Red Rockers disbanded, leaving one to wonder which direction they would have turned.

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