Release Date: Jan 25, 2010
Record label: Brille
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
“I’ve seen so much and I’ve grown so old,” Rhys Jones sings on No Hope, No Future, and though Good Shoes were hardly wizened at the time, he has a point: By the time the band delivered the follow-up to their brilliant debut album, Think Before You Speak, many of their bouncy, post-punk-inspired contemporaries had faded away. The feeling of being a hardened survivor informs almost every aspect of No Hope, No Future, from its stripped-down sound to its older and wiser outlook. Where Good Shoes seemed to have a frantic tug of war between cynicism and idealism on nearly every song on Think Before You Speak, the band’s jaded side wins out on this album, underscoring its title.
Like the hurricane victim too indignant to leave his home when the storm hits, Good Shoes remain steadfast bearers of CBGB-style post-punk even as backs seem to be turning against it. In fact, things don’t bode well for the band if the easiest comparison one can offer reads something like this: Good Shoes are the Strokes transported from New York to a dead-end South London suburb without the benefit of the latter’s elite boarding school education or delusions of grandeur. In other words, Good Shoes sound very 2003, period.
So what did happen to the class of 2006? Larrikin Love imploded less than a year after releasing their first and only long player; Mystery Jets have seen more peaks and troughs than the combined infrastructure of Kilimanjaro and the Pyranees; Les Incompetents and Fear Of Flying changed in both name and direction (for better or for worse depending on which part of the fence you happen to sit); The Holloways and The Young Knives still plod on merrily, enticing the decreasing few that still actually give a damn. Indeed, only Jamie T and The Maccabees have genuinely prospered from a collection of UK artists tipped to create an exciting 21st century vision of Britpop. While some will no doubt scoff at other people's misfortunes, it is a major concern that there seems to be a dearth of artists breaking through with the ambition or capability to seize the mantle like Blur or Pulp before them.
In late 2006, Good Shoes cracked the UK singles charts with "All in My Head", a quintessentially British-indie slab of neurotic, spiky punk-pop. Further singles and chart appearances culminated in 2007's Think Before You Speak, a charmingly heartfelt album somewhere between a less insular Arctic Monkeys and a less caffeinated Futureheads-- romantic insecurities you could dance to in your trainers. When sharply accented singer/guitarist Rhys Jones sang, "Things were better when we were young," the future still sounded bright.
Following a hyped debut, London quartet [a]Good Shoes[/a] offer little to get flustered over with this sometimes dire, but mostly mediocre second album. Three years ago the south Londoners became the unlikely voice of suburban boredom and modern, social discontent, but in 2010, that impact has gone. The jagged riffs of ‘[b]I Know[/b]’ suggest there is hope they’ll be able reconnect with old fans, but ‘[b]Do You Remember[/b]’ sounds like a syllable-counting game, and closing with ‘[b]City By The Sea[/b]’ doesn’t remotely make for a clever final note.
30 minutes of ardent indie crackle worthy of no few plaudits. Mark Beaumont 2010 Think Before You Speak, the 2007 debut from these spiky-of-guitars Londoners, was all about getting out of suburbia: tales of teen infatuation from the extremities of the Northern Line. This follow-up is about getting out of love. Singer Rhys Jones underwent a protracted break-up during the writing period and his heartbreak is writ large across this charmingly scratchy half-hour.