Release Date: Mar 1, 2010
Record label: V2/Co-operative
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
A little under two years ago, the unlawfully pretty Brighton two-piece Blood Red Shoes released their debut album Box of Secrets. At the time the general consensus (if such a thing could be said to exist) was that it was a good first effort, if a little overproduced. It’s not unfair to say that the record didn’t quite capture the full effect of their live shows, which at their best are deafening and visceral experiences.
It’s as superfluous as suggesting that [a]The Darkness[/a]’ [b]‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’[/b] is probably as good as any song you could drop a dart into on the back of an [a]AC/DC[/a] greatest hits collection. But, although, yes, they wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the influence of ’90s US scuzz-rockers, from Fugazi to Nirvana to Sonic Youth to Pixies, the fact remains that the peaks of [a]Blood Red Shoes[/a]’ 2008 debut album ‘Box Of Secrets’, given a quick spin in Doc Brown’s DeLorean and a transatlantic flight, could snugly park themselves into the tracklistingof any given best-of-the-era compilation playlisted by any given bedroom Cobain-trailer. Unashamed exponents of the hairier side of noughties rock, Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter did it vastly better than most – Laura-Mary’s air-gasp vocals and brutally catchy riffs airlifting them storeys above supposed peers such as [a]Nine Black Alps[/a].
Blood Red Shoes have been hiding in plain sight. Since 2005, the Brighton-based duo of drummer Steve Ansell and guitarist Laura-Mary Carter have released a handful of singles and one album, 2008's Box of Secrets, on major label V2. They've toured extensively at home, throughout the EU, and been billed at festivals from ATP to Pukkelpop. They mostly forgot about the United States, though.
Difficult second album our ass... Difficult second album our ass, the follow-up to 08’s ‘Box Of Secrets’ is another grower. Starting off pleasant but eventually becoming a regular stereo occupier, the grungier second half of this release is the better half. ‘Heartsink’ is this album’s ‘You Bring Me Down’, while ‘Count Me In’ with its fuzzy bassline and duel boy / girl vocals is the album highlight.
Sometimes it feels like those of us who have fallen between the cracks of the Gen X/Gen Y divide have found a way to embrace nearly every generation’s cheesy popular music but our own. I’ve seen my share of late-twenty- to early-thirty-somethings trumpet the virtues of disco, synth pop, hair metal, all the way up to the present with Ke$ha and Gaga, but just try to turn the subject to Soundgarden or Sponge and you’re likely to be met with a blank stare. And while there’s plenty of reasons to write off the radio rock of the mid-to-late 90s, I can’t help but think that many of us do it because being confronted with a Superdrag album makes us vaguely uncomfortable.
Blood Red Shoes – Fire Like This V2 http://www.bloodredshoes.co.uk/ Brighton, England-based Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter returned last year with their sophomore album Fire Like This and it burns with a cool, blue-flame intensity (as depicted by the album’s cover art) compared to the red-hot wildfire of the band’s debut, Box of Secrets, released in 2008. Both albums are still and undeservedly only available as imports in the U.S. The blaze of vehemence and exuberance that burned through the first album is more contained here, with Steven and Laura-Mary’s sharply indignant and passionate vocal tones tempered by a touch of resignation (instead of desperation) and, dare it be said, maturity.
Deploys quiet-loud dynamics like a fistful of tossed firecrackers. Louis Pattison 2010 Box Of Secrets, the debut album from Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes, was solid enough, but here and there you felt like Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell were chasing a zeitgeist, pulling dance-punk moves because it was the in thing rather than because they, y’know, really felt it. Not so with its follow-up, Fire Like This.