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Red 7 - 1985 Red 7



ARTIST: Red 7
ALBUM: Red 7
LABEL: MCA
SERIAL: MCA-5508
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance Records, RMED00186

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Gene Stashuk - guitar, lead vocals * Michael Becker - keyboards, background vocals * Paul Revelli - drums, background vocals

Additional Musician: Mike Rutherford - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Relentless * 02 Heartbeat * 03 No Sorry * 04 Less Than Perfect * 05 The Way * 06 The Dark Hour * 07 Questions And Answers * 08 Let Me Use You * 09 Shades Of Grey * 10 Can't Much Anymore


Background
Fantastic progressive hi-tech from San Francisco; Red 7 recorded two albums of hook-laden synth driven rock that were largely ignored by record buyers which is ironic considering a pair of cuts from their Mike Rutherford (Genesis) produced 1985 debut were featured on the big screen. The first 'Less Than Perfect' appeared in the entertaining sci-fi flick 'Explorers' while the second 'Heartbeat' found a spot in both the thriller 'Manhunter' as well as the stylish TV series 'Miami Vice'. MTV pushed the 'Heartbeat' video, but it wasn't original enough separate it from the pack and Red 7's problems were compounded with MCA's lack of interest in the group and an unlikely tour with Howard Jones.


The Songs
Of course unlike so much of what was happening at the time, these guys were more than your average well-coiffed run-of-the-mill synth pop wannabe's. Using a template that borrowed from both 'POV' Utopia, The Fixx and Euro art rock; the record with its hip modern art sleeve was recorded live and layered with a few well-placed overdubs. The result is an exciting mixture of technical proficient pop that is as infectious as it is complex. Propelled by a pounding synth-beat 'Relentless' points skyward although the brightest stars of Red 7's universe are the previously mentioned 'Heartbeat' which is definitely catchy and worthy of its single status and the dramatic 'Less The Perfect'; hammering its way into the gray matter's pleasure zone. Elsewhere 'The Dark Hour' swirls with jazzy colours and while the second side isn't nearly as strong Red 7 continues to innovate while mining the best of the period even dipping into Saga territory with the frenzic 'Let Me Use You' and cool European Visage influenced art pop on 'Shades of Grey'.


In Summary
A second release 'When The Sun Goes Down' hit the CD longbox racks in 1987. A respectable effort it wasn't a shade on the debut and apparently the band thought the same, splitting up a short time after. The disc shouldn't be too hard to find which was the exact opposite situation with the debut. Originally released only on LP and cassette; in 2009 the Renaissance label reissued the album on CD with typically horrific sound quality which is truly a shame. Let's hope in the future another imprint gives Red 7 a proper go of it and the respect the music so well deserves.


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