Classic Rock Bottom

For the 18th album in that other series, this week's selection is the 1984 release from Red Rockers, Schizophrenic Circus

Some of you might know Red Rockers from the song "China" which received quite a bit of airplay on the radio and MTV in 1983 and reached #53 on the singles chart in the US.

Their first album, released in 1981, was punk but they changed their style with the 1983 followup, Good As Gold and they continued in that vein with this album. However, this was the final release from the band and the members went on to join and/or form other groups.  

What's an interesting and fun fact is that while listening to this in my car, it came up as Sammy Hagar as the artist. Actually, that was a it annoying since I wasn't in the mood to listen to Sammy, even though UFO's are REAL.

The first song on this album, "Just Like You" did receive some radio airplay because I remember it, dammit.

Okay, let's let take it from here:

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.

Schizophrenic Circus

1. Just Like You
2. Blood From A Stone
3. Shades Of '45
4. Another Day
5. Freedom Row
6. Good Thing I Know Her
7. Eve Of Destruction
8. Both Hands In The Fire
9. Burning Bridges

Availability: Can be had for less than $3 from Amazon, but it's an add-on item. So buy some stuff and add this on? Or you can get it for about $7 is Amazon has NOTHING else you want or need.

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Reading the post I was thinking, I never heard of this band before, but when Just Like You started playing, the sound was very familiar. I used to have a cassette tape without any credits to it, that had a song similar in sound to the opening track. For a second, I thought this was it, however it wasn't. Had to look up China, and that was completely new to me, as well. Not a fan of that sound China had, so I think the change in style was an improvement.

I don't know how much time of my life would have this album gotten back in 1984, but today it goes well with nostalgia. Nothing pops out to green my day, though. Despite tracks 6 and 9 together , dragging the flow down a bit, I did enjoyed the rest.

This band first went wrong by using the work "Rockers" in their name.  Something got lost in translation somewhere, I mean look at the band, listen to the music, theres no ROCK anything here!  This is some sort of hybrid between the Hooters and The Alarm (or somebody like that).  I guess its melodic in a new wavy sort of way, maybe more mainstream new wave which may be another problem they had, this being 1981 maybe were a couple years away from fitting in.

All is not lost,the songs aren't terrible and there's moments of some guitar work that's really well done, and I really liked the keyboard/organ on Freedom Row certainly better than the RED track.  The songs are well written.  The real issue here is the proverbial "don't judge a book by its cover" problem.  People looking for rock and roll didn't get it and people looking for new wave probably passed right by it!  And then I am left to wonder if I just accidentally ran into the series theme.  I think I did...

I liked this, I really did once I figured out what I was in for it settled in quite nice.  The one song I didn't care for was the closer, it was out of place, everything else works well.  But for me, the Cherry pick of the album is Freedom Row, now that's cool tune, a very close second was the opener, another cool tune with some nice guitar work...

I'm surprised here Jon!  Really surprised...  Nice post!

Judging by the album cover, I would not like this.  Judging by the review, I may very well like this.

First song is terrific.  Makes me think of Big Country a little bit.  Not really getting into Blood From A Stone though. Honestly, I could see this as a Springsteen song.  For some reason it has a New Jersey feel to it, even though I've never been to Jersey.

Shades of 45 is a bit better, but again, it sounds like Springsteen covering Big Country. Another Day is decidedly more melodic.  And I dig that bit of guitar.  Best song easily so far!  This should have been a hit!

Freedom Row sounds just like something that would have been on Butch Walker's 2016 album.  That's pretty wild. 

The rest of this just kind of meanders along.  Not in a bad way at all, but not great either.  The album as a whole is easy to listen to and it is definitely more to my liking than I would have thought by looking at the album cover.


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