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Record Reviews: Cry Tomorrow

These reviews are of the original version of Cry Tomorrow, on its first release in 1992. The CD was reworked, remastered and re-released in 1999.

Music Express Magazine
August 1992

THE REDS: Cry Tomorrow
Tarock Music

Three out of four serial killers name The Reds as their favorite band. Actually, I just made that up, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. After all, director Michael Mann hired them to score Manhunter, the chilling prequel to Silence Of The Lambs, as well as using their music in Band Of The Hand and episodes of Miami Vice. This Philadelphia duo certainly won’t get confused with Hall & Oates, for they deal in a menacingly modern sound worthy of far greater exposure. Since 1979, singer/guitarist Rick Shaffer and keyboardist Bruce Cohen have recorded four albums for four different labels, and Cry Tomorrowappears on indie alternative label Tarock Music (PO Box 441, Village Station, NY 10014).

The Reds have an immediately identifiable sound via the combination of droning keyboards and guitar and Shaffer’s haunting monotone vocals, and they come up with hooks that creep insidiously into the brain. Female backing vocals are used liberally to further push the sounds home, and producer Mike Thorne (Wire, Soft Cell, Peter Murphy) keeps it all as clean and sharp as a new scalpel. Those raised on the sonic bludgeoning of industrial and metal styles will likely find this a little too understated, but that’s their loss. The cover of the Rolling Stones classic Gimme Shelter is a logical one, but the song’s familiarity robs it of some potency. Standout cuts include Terror In My HeartCry Tomorrow and the sinister Waiting For YouCry Tomorrow remains Better Dread From Reds.
*** 1/2

 – Kerry Doole

THE REDS: Cry Tomorrow
Tarock Music

Colder-sounding than they were at the end of the ’70s, this band still emits the same edgy desperation, thanks to Rick Shaffer’s Jaggeresque vocals (there’s an updated Gimme Shelter here to drive home the similarity). Ace producer Mike Thorne (Wire) adds the icy sheen he helped popularize in the early ’80s, but never lets the synths gloss over Shaffer’s switchblade guitar  obligatos.

 – Steve Holtje

Rolling Stone

On The Edge
By David Fricke

·. The Reds inhabit an inviting, ice blue quadrant of the postpunk cosmos on Cry Tomorrow(Tarock Music, CD), somewhere near the terse rhythmic tug of Wire, New Order’s frosty electro-glaze and the artgarage menace of the early Psychedelic Furs.  Especially beguiling is Waiting For You, a brooding beauty cut from the same hair-shirt cloth as The Idiot by Iggy Pop ·

Merlin’s Music Box
(translated from the original Greek)

The Reds: Cry Tomorrow
Tarock Music, PO Box 441, Village Station, New York 10014-0441, USA, CD 1992

Strange thing, a duet who after one album on A&M, two independent albums and another on Sire, leap into a brand new company, Tarock Music (this is the company’s first release). The Reds consist of Bruce Cohen (keyboards), and Rick Shaffer (guitar), who both hail from Philadelphia, and if you were a fanatic follower of Miami Vice you might remember their names from the music credits from a number of episodes. This fifth album depicts  the ‘dark side of things,’ a portrayal with serious undertones, painting an often frightening picture. The duet succumbs to an egocentric discovery in these pieces. Shaffer’s voice is other worldly several times, as other worldly as the album. There is a similarity here to Gimme Shelter, but I don’t know, something frightens me, yet attracts me at the same time. The producer is Mike Thorne (Soft Cell, Wire, Peter Murphy, Blur).

Philadelphia City Paper

The Reds put out a new CD
By  Frank Blank

Howdy folks!
One of the longest lasting collaborations in Philadelphia music is that of Rick Shaffer and Bruce Cohen, collectively known as The Reds. Their self-titled LP on A&M Records was an assertive statement that fit in perfectly with the era in which it was recorded. From that beginning, Cohen and Shaffer continued to record for albums and numerous films and TV projects, among them are contributions to the television show Miami Vice and the creation of the soundtrack for the film Manhunter.

Much like XTC, The Reds are much more of studio creation, in that the band does not perform live. Cry Tomorrow, the new CD by The Reds on Tarock Music, is the first output from the band in quite some time. Reunited with producer Mike Thorne (Blur, Soft Cell, Peter Murphy), Shaffer and Cohen have crafted a disc that fuses the power of their earlier work with the development of their soundtrack work.

Cohen’s keyboards are the most promising voice in The Red’s instrumental sound, with Shaffer’s guitar generally providing the momentum. The atmosphere runs from moody to aggressive, with particular standouts  being the title track and a lurching cover if Gimme Shelter.

Some of The Reds’ material brings to mind the approach of the influential British band Killing Joke.