Redfield

The Hellfire Club (Graved)

Redfield is a tough band to pigeonhole. It might count as punk. The Valley hopefuls seem to prefer that tag, having been profiled and hyped by local Web site AZPunk.com and given shout-outs to punk bands on the liner notes to their new EP The Hellfire Club. Plus, vocalist Alfie Lucero is a grade-A growler. His alienation, disgust and heartbreak, three punk prerequisites, are palpable. Yet in its music, Redfield is as transient as the players on a Scottsdale golf course. The influences vary widely -- and admirably.

On the title track to the 20-minute EP, for instance, the four-piece band flirts with metal and with the grind-core that earned Helmet and Prong a following a decade ago -- the riff trudges like a 5,000-pound beast, and the melody is tense. "Compass" borders on Seattle grunge, with an agile opening section, subtle soft-loud dynamics (dropping to one guitar at times, a bass-only bridge) and anthemic chorus -- "Where do we go!" The band also can adopt the overly dramatic headband pop of the '80s. "Disarray" layers hook on hook on hook, complete with the big-haired solo glory. Add a keyboard, and it's Tommy Tutone.

Only on "Falling Down" does the band embrace traditional punk, a style that ultimately fits it like a glove. Even so, Redfield maintains its sophistication, carrying a fiery tune and never letting the song devolve into unlistenable slop, which tends to happen with most young punk bands. "Falling Down" races at virtually one intensity level, never stopping for a breath. Even when the band slices the riff and pumps up the drum funk halfway through, it never stops snarling or sporting its middle finger.

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With its appreciation for hard-rock song forms and musicianship over grand gestures and pretentiousness, Redfield is a standout locally, a big fish in a smaller pond searching for fresher waters.

 
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