Red Black Red – Resettlement
By: Dale Butcher
Few albums this year will measure up to the ambition Enrico Fernando pours into his band’s debut Resettlement. Red Black Red is a one man deal, but there’s a virtual symphony of sound here that would undoubtedly pack a monumental wallop in a live setting. The kinetic energy generated by these eight performances is considerable, however, and rarely takes its musical foot off the audience’s neck. Considering the avowed inspiration behind the songwriting, chronicling the immigrant experience in American life, it’s an intense invocation of strangers living in a strange land and under intense internal and external pressure every day of their lives. No matter how the mood of the music may strike listeners, there’s immense life surging through each one of these songs and it’s impossible to not be affected by this music. Red Black Red’s Resettlement aims higher than typical fare in this style and it never feels like Fernando’s grasp exceeds his reach.
His confidence comes across quite vividly from the first. “Kindness”, based on title alone, promises to tackle big lyrical themes and does so with admirable artfulness while the music reflects one of Resettlement’s best mixes of electronic rock and more traditional guitar oriented material. It’s quite different from the second track “The Scientist”, a near abrasive and inflamed industrial metal tune interspersed with some of the album’s most anguished, emotive singing. The lyrics and voice, in concert with each other, raise the song’s emotional temperature without ever applying too strong of a hand to its effect on audiences. “Debris” demonstrates even more nuance and applies dynamics to the final effect in a much different aural fashion than we’ve experienced with the first two songs. “Dream in Fevered American” practically sounds like instruction to the subconscious, but it’s one of the best arranged tunes on the album and Fernando delivers a real blinder of a vocal that tests his voice, in some ways, quite unlike anything else on Resettlement.
One of the album’s best guitar moments comes with the song “Black Pearl” and illustrates his talent for showing a variety of musical faces with that particular instrument. The playing near the song’s beginning sets the bar high for the remainder of the tune and he proves more than capable of sustaining that level of visceral eloquence. “A Cross and A Crescent” may seem a little more obscure than most of the tunes to both casual and hardcore listeners, but attentiveness to both the lyrics and arrangement pays off as the song doesn’t readily reveal its additional secrets or layers. The title song revisits the guitar themed workouts we encounter with songs like “Black Pearl” and the earlier “The Scientist” and it’s an especially brew thanks to the odd rhythms and idiosyncratic changes peppering the song’s flavor. Resettlement concludes with another hard-charging electronic rock exercise in the song “A Blessed Day by the Ocean” and Fernando structures its dynamics in such a way that it truly feels like the climax Resettlement deserves rather than grasping in the dark hoping it’s a fit conclusion. Red Black Red’s auspicious debut with this release will stick in your memory for some time and we can only hope there’s more to come from this project.