If you haven’t gotten over the break up of the White Stripes, then you should check out Blood Red Shoes. Though they’re not exactly like them, there are times when the UK duo are reminiscent of the band only with less blues influences. For their fourth album they decide to turn up their raw power making way for an intense adventure into garage rock. The songs here are harder, dirtier, and better than the ones found on their previous release.
The opening instrumental “Welcome Home” prepares the listener for what they should expect to find here. It’s nothing but dirty, harsh, sexy music coming at you to get your head banging. As soon as you hear the opening lick, it pulls you in for more. The way the guitar riff keeps building up throughout the short track keeps the listener in anticipation, wondering what to expect next. Even though it is an instrumental, it never grows dull. “Everything All At Once” has a raw feel with music buzzing throughout the entire song. It’s upbeat, energetic, and something that definitely gets you pumped up. It’s songs like this that make you wonder why these guys don’t get more recognition in the States.
“Grey Smoke” is notable for it’s smoldering hot riff and sensual vocals from Laura-Mary Carter. Everything here sounds dangerous, yet sexy at the same time. The way she sings “Fire, in the bottom of my stomach/being taken/Over, it will hold ya, in the grip of his cold hands” tingles your spine. The whole vibe is really slick and cool. But if there’s one song that makes you think of The White Stripes it’s “An Animal.” Something about the dirty, classic rock inspired guitar riff reminds you of the former band; probably because it’s simple, yet powerful. The guitar is intense, sounding like it’s about to snap in half. But things get a bit mellow on “Far Away.”
There’s a slight musical build up here, but it doesn’t get too intense allowing the band to take it easy. But just because it’s a slower track doesn’t mean it’s boring. They keep things going with the heartfelt lyrics like “Were you listening? Let’s go/Took me all the way back into your car/Where we going? I don’t know/I just wanna be anywhere but here” and the interesting music. Also, the vocal style here is awesome. Steven Ansell sings the majority of the song in a straightforward, almost monotone manner. Carter comes in during the chorus sounding sweet and as lovely as ever. It’s a really nice contrast with their singing styles, which is one of the reasons why the two work so well together.
Another great song is “The Perfect Mess.” Here we get back to the raw, garage rock sound they established earlier on the record. Clever lyrics like “Because you got everything,/you can count with one hand /But you spreading closely /I can feel like a better part” make for a really catchy song. The one lyric that stands out is when Carter sings “It’s nothing you can’t accord /Don’t mean shit to me” because she curses so nonchalantly. It’s almost adorable. Also, there’s a musical break where you hear nothing but Ansell banging on the drums with all this might and it’s pretty awesome.
From here the LP gets slow, heavy, and a bit dark. “Speech Coma” has slow, intense, dirty riffs that hypnotize you while the two constantly sing “I can’t get the words out/it’s like someone cut out my tongue.” It seems like a simple song that works on repetition and heavy music, but either way it’s still a satisfying song. Plus, the way they use repetition here is catchy, rather than annoying. “Stranger” is significant because it begins with a riff that sounds like nothing else on the LP. It a haunting riff that sets up the tone of the song. Carter’s vocals even follow the melody of the riff in a dreamy sort of way, but it also sounds like there’s pain hidden in her voice, which provides a somber undertone making the entire thing kind of eerie. Still, it’s great to hear them shake things up every once in a while.
Overall, the album gets 8.5/10. With a raw sound, intense music, and intriguing lyrics, this is Blood Red Shoes’ best LP yet. The songs are memorable and will often get stuck in your head, while thoughtful lyrics make you fall in love with the band. This duo is amazing with how they attack their respective instruments to how their voices work together. Though they’ve been playing together for a while they still don’t get a lot of recognition in the States. Hopefully, that will change with this explosive album. If you haven’t checked them out, give them a chance to become your new favorite band.