Blood Red Shoes
A band seemingly forever on the B-list, Blood Red Shoes return from recording sessions in Germany with a self-titled album, something which normally indicates a no-frills, bullshit-free statement of intent. These Berlin days and nights have resulted in a raw, heavy and sexy record, which confirms Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell as ones to watch, but after ten years, it may not be enough to elevate them to the level of commercial success their hard work probably deserves.
The album itself opens with the instrumental ‘Welcome Home’, its big riff and pounding drums a reminder of what we've been missing in the two years since In Time To Voices. Sonically, it's a formula repeated over most of the rest of the running time, although there are stabs at more tender fare: ‘Far Away’ has Carter in emotional conflict “I just wanna be anywhere but here” with the refrains of “Far away, out of sight” again suggesting a sense of dislocation. Single ‘The Perfect Mess’ is a haze of reverb and distortion wrapped in sultry vocals from Carter while the swooping and hypnotic ‘Stranger’ makes for one of the highlights. The mid-tempo ‘Speech Coma’ reveals its charms in time (“I can’t get the words out / It’s like someone cut out my tongue”), its quiet urgency indicative of a band with much to say, perhaps frustrated at the numbers actually listening.
Blood Red Shoes have always thrived in the live environment and there's a sense these tracks have been written with one eye on the road. The overall result is a little wearing, yet it confirms their status as an exciting live draw. Fans will welcome their return, while festival bookers should give serious consideration to shoving them up the bill a bit.