ALBUM REVIEW: Blood Red Shoes ‘Blood Red Shoes’

After last year’s release of the ‘Water EP’, fans could breathe a sigh of relief as Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes seemed still to be able to go back to their origins through a tunnel of raw sounds worthy of the noisy, grungy band they used to be. This trend fortunately appears to be the main feature of the band’s brand new album, ‘Blood Red Shoes’, out on March 3.

Recorded in Berlin by vocalist/guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and vocalist/drummer Steve Ansell, with no sound engineers around, ‘Blood Red Shoes’ qualifies itself as a simple and honest record, bringing back that energy explosion that characterised the beginning of the band’s career.

Opening track, ‘Welcome Home’, is a declaration of intent: it flies the flag of old, rough and raw rock that is Blood Red Shoes’ trademark with their ever so moreish eruption of energy and full on powerful drumming and thick riffs. ‘Everything All At Once’ and ‘An Animal’ (which has been previously released as a single) seem to follow the wave of rough rock. The tempo thus seems to have been raised from the band’s 2012 album – ‘In Time To Voices’; a much cleaner, more curated and, consequently, less direct and appealing  creation than “Blood Red Shoes”.

However, although meandering and, sometimes, stoner rock guitar loops permeate the entire work and play their winning game in songs such as ‘Speech Coma’ and ‘Don’t Get Caught’, the record loses its initial charisma as it progresses. Whilst the eerie atmosphere you breathe in ‘Grey Smoke’ and the brooding ‘Stranger’ let the temperature go down a bit, ‘Cigarettes In The Dark’ and ‘Tightwire’ (the last two songs of the album) lack the rock appeal the band so successfully have built through the first four songs.

The result is a record that opens onto a highway of raw guitar and drums worthy of a proper rock band (and we all know the Brighton duo can rock hard if they want- go back and listen to ‘Je Me Perds’), but that simmers down towards the end, disorienting you –  making you uncertain as to where the band plan on going. It’s almost as if Blood Red Shoes left Berlin in a massive Ferrari but, by the time they reached London, they were driving a 500…

Marcella Sartore