Released as a major-label debut seven full years after the band's formation, The Red Record presents a series of confessional songs that are long on angst but a bit short on profundity. By adopting an intriguing free-verse flow in most of his lyrics, Davey Ingersoll forces the band into structures of accompaniment whose shifting chords and rhythms often impede momentum. They crank out plenty of amperage, however, and on songs like the swaggering "Rock 'n' Roll & the Teenage Desperation," whose motif derives from retro imagery, the groove does lock in. But for all the ambition in its material, Loudermilk doesn't really establish a distinct enough sound to distinguish itself from the neo-metal/grunge mainstream: Its attempts at innovative arrangement, including a gratuitous clarinet and saxophone cameo in "97 Ways to Kill a Superhero," are too few and at times a little strained, and Ingersoll's pinched voice and earnest delivery leave an impression that's sometimes uncomfortably reminiscent of Geddy Lee.
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AllMusic Review by Robert L. Doerschuk