Red Black Red - Resettlement
Enrico Fernando’s “one man band” Red Black Red’s first studio album Resettlement promises to be much more than an isolated release with no apparent follow up. The expansive and open ended range of this material judged as both individual tracks and collectively, lends itself to further experimentation and subject matter on possible future releases thanks to its freedom of possibility. Enrico Fernando is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer with no apparent limits and a love for the guitar that keeps these songs recognizable for traditional rock fans while his blending of electronic instruments and sounds invests the cuts with a particularly unique character. His ambitions with Resettlement are rather grand – hailing from immigrants himself, the songwriting on the album is inspired by the controversial public debate about the contributions and/or possible threat immigrants, particularly illegal ones, pose to our national fabric and security. Fernando’s stance is clear, but never preachy. Instead, he’s an artist first and makes his statements with powerfully human qualities.
Those qualities come through with the song “Kindness” while still maintaining the musically sharp edge embodying Resettlement as a whole. It’s a remarkable experience to hear how Fernando’s singing brings a number of emotional strengths to bear in each song and “Kindness” is one of the best in this regard making, therefore, for a stronger opener. It takes on a much more raucous attitude with the second track “The Scientist” and we start getting a sense, around this point, that a lot of warring musical elements spread throughout the album’s eight songs is, perhaps, meant to mimic the feeling of constant pressure defining an outsider’s experience in a world not their own. He artfully turns down that pressure some with the song “Debris” and the elegiac, regretful mood of its near march tempo is difficult to ignore. Slowing things down and lightening the force of his musical impact makes for a much different experience with this song than we’ve heard with the opening tandem. “Dream in Fevered American” must be regarded as one of the album’s lynchpin tracks despite not being its longest and encompasses a lot of sonic range within a relatively small space. The final four tunes on Resettlement alternate approaches “Black Pearl” and the title song are closer to alternative rock and dominated by some especially imaginative guitar while “A Cross and a Crescent” and “A Blessed Day by the Ocean” are ferocious electronic driven tunes with sharply dramatic structures. The guitar sound on “Black Pearl” is worth noting because its often clean tones stand out on an album with often skewed or distorted guitar playing while the title song is even closer to head-on alt guitar rock accompanied by a passionate Fernando vocal. The two aforementioned electronic dominated tunes are, far and away, the most forceful demonstrations of that side of Fernando’s musical personality and the latter tune and album closer “A Blessed Day by the Ocean” balances moments of all out assault with simmering verse passages led by a particularly raw Fernando vocal. Red Black Red’s Resettlement leaves a mark on listeners and takes risks many others wouldn’t dare. The gamble pays off over and over again for artist and listener alike.