Release Date: Mar 3, 2014
Record label: N/A
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In the years they've spent simmering away under the mainstream, Blood Red Shoes have remained true to the label-wary, independent approach to music making. They probably haven't made much money, but they have become a consistent, reliable and underrated act. Four records on from their bratty, breathless debut Box Of Secrets they have retained their attitude and ethos but have matured their sound.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Whenever I spin a new Blood Red Shoes record for the first time, ever since that first play of their phenomenal debut album Box of Secrets, the same thought enters my mind every single time; how can just two people make this much noise? Even seeing them live and seeing them actually thrash the shit out of those drums and ruin eardrums with those riffs with your own eyes, which it was pretty easy to do since they never seemed to stop touring until they took a break last year to pop over to Berlin to record this self-titled fourth album, it still felt that what they were doing was almost magical. Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell always seemed to play things fast and loose with great results.
Blood Red Shoes have been together for 10 years now, and without wishing to sound cruel, sometimes you wonder what compels them to keep going. It’s never exactly been a barrel of laughs: the way drummer Steven Ansell tells it, he and Laura-Mary Carter spend so much time at each other’s throats, he quit the band on three separate occasions during the recording of their last album, 2012’s ‘In Time To Voices’. That’s fine if you’re in the Eagles and you’re rich enough to never have to encounter your bandmates outside of the 90 minutes you spend onstage each night, but four albums in, Blood Red Shoes are still serially underrated, rolling their Sisyphean blues-rock boulder from gig to gig and album to album while bands like Drenge and Royal Blood bask in the acclaim that’s always evaded them.
‘So give me everything, all of it, all at once’, comes the bratty demand from Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell, sounding like he’s stuck inside an echo-chamber on opening salvo ‘Everything All At Once’. But it’s actually the Brighton pair who are giving us everything at once; their fourth long player neatly combines facets of their first three – the post-punk spiky provocation of debut ‘Box Of Secrets’, the dynamic Transatlantic alt-rock of follow-up ‘Fire Like This’, and the overly textured semi-misfire of last effort ‘In Time To Voices’: it all carries over here. Having traded in their native stomping ground in favour of Berlin to record as well as self-produce, it also seems apt that Blood Red Shoes have named this album after themselves.
On 1st December 2013, Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes hid 10 different QR codes in different cities across the world. Once found, these codes pieced together to unlock a new track – The Perfect Mess – exclusively available on the band’s website in an admirable piece of innovation. It took their dedicated fanbase just eight hours to find them all, with the added prize of two tickets for life to all of their forthcoming shows being a significant incentive for the successful hunters.
Harshness can become bland. Grit can turn into boredom. Without dynamic and lyrical contrast, rock albums obsessed with scorching noise transform into background music, unable to engage. Despite their best efforts, Blood Red Shoes fall into this unfortunate trap. Their new self-titled album uses ….
If you’ve seen Blood Red Shoes live before – not improbable, given that they pretty much live on the road – you’ll likely know that perfectionism isn’t really their style. It was surprising, then, to see them ditch their fast and furious stage formula and embrace a more complex, meticulous approach to recording on their last album, In Time to Voices. It certainly wasn’t without its highlights – “Cold”, “Two Dead Minutes” and “The Silence and the Drones” are all viable contenders for the best song they’ve written – but it felt, at times, as if they were trying a little too hard; there were hints that the songs were suffocated by the atmosphere they’d been so deliberately drenched in.