Mean Reds – Mean Reds

3 out of 5

Label: Record Collection

Produced by: Dave Sardy

At some point in the mid 00s, we had this nice little skronk renaissance happening on the fringes of the mainstream, where groups like The Locust and Ex-Models floated into a spotlight and did their thing, and as happens with any such scene, that means you start picking up a lot of here-and-then-gone bands. Case in point: Mean Reds, who were around for a hot and fast 3-ish years of a single album and some hyped EPs, and then were gone, and this self-titled EP – also sometimes called ___, at least according to my Zune? – is pretty representative of that, flashing through 5 songs in a little over ten minutes, nary settling on much of a sound beyond scatter-shot, though sprinting down a punkier avenue of that skronk spectrum. Producer Dave Sardy is a gigantic boon here, helping to carve out some solidity as the group energetically hops through riffs and bombast and nonsense-ish lyrics, all of which is performed with requisite gusto, but does give off the sense that if things slowed down, the material may not hold up, and Mean Reds would crumble. …Which was, perhaps, the reality. But this bite-sized offering of their angular and aggressive snarky punk is worth a listen or more, in part thanks to its ephemeral, ‘What did I just listen to?’ nature.