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Music Review: Red Black Red – ‘Resettlement’ Expands the Boundaries of Rock Music

Red Black Red drops Resettlement today, March 2. Hailing from New Jersey, Red Black Red is the creation of Enrico Fernando, who’s been around the block more than once, playing with North Jersey bands like The Effluent, House of Leaves, Pavonia, and others. The grind got him down, so he got married, moved to the Jersey Shore and got a “real job.” Basically, he retired from music.

But something funny happened. Mr. Fernando became inspired. And Red Black Red was born on a train. While commuting to NYC on the train, Fernando composed, arranged and programmed music on his laptop. Stylistically, the band’s music features potent rhythms and vast electro-noise elements resulting in profound sound and lyrical intensity.

The songs on Resettlement speak of the immigrant phenomenon, i.e. the emotional and psychological feeling of being an immigrant. The album doesn’t pretend to make political statements. Rather, it presents cinematic musical episodes, wherein each song expresses point-of-view accounts about a variety of topics: displacement, loneliness, community, violence, and survival and hope.

“Kindness” opens with shimmering industrial-flavored synths riding an electro-prog-rock groove that trips rather than flows. Yet the tripping sensibility has the effect of adding emotional intimacy. Fernando’s voice, ragged and passionate, provides strident, effective tones. “The Scientist” travels on crunching electro/alt-rock harmonics. The polyrhythmic beat surges with stops and advances, giving the tune a rumbling, grating essence. “Debris” begins with oozing organ-like synths emanating a dirge-like, drawling flow that comes across like a punk-lite-flavored gospel requiem. Grimy guitar colors wrinkle and heave dynamically. I really like this tune.

“Black Pearl” emanates dark flavors riding a grungy/alt-rock melody with complex layered sonic hues and Fernando’s rough, hoarse voice, which sounds like tones coming out of the deep end of Tartarus. It’s a great voice, one that is harsh, raucous, persuasive, and intimately evocative. Another favorite is the title track, which rides nastily tight new wave/prog-rock energy, rife with fuzzy guitars and trembling synths that warble and waver and ripple with audacity.

On the whole, Resettlement delivers a cusp of musical transition: the amalgamation of prog-rock, alt-rock, gospel exuberance, dynamic stasis, and frictional harmonics into innovative, matchless music – like something out of a futuristic sonic factory, where wild residual energy and the infinite plasticity of the digital merge. It’s completely sui generis and totally excellent.

Follow Red Black Red on their website and via Facebook.

About Randall Radic

Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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