Bands with dramatic break-ups/backstories are the best kind. Why? Because we all love a bit of drama. And to grasp the relevance of Blood Red Shoes’ fifth release Get Tragic, one must first immerse themselves in the duo’s backstory.
To gain a full understanding of the duo’s proximity induced fight, ‘Eye To Eye’, the sleazy album opener, gives detail to the bands past life. As drummer Steven Ansell states “We got the to the end of the fourth record and were like, ‘F**k you, I never want to see you again’, an idea reiterated through the captivating synth lead track. This album is not so much a concept, but a story, with ‘Bangsar’ fuelling an explosion of electronic depth and catchy encapsulating choruses, all about the backstreet late night partying of LA. After the fight, vocalist Laura Mary Carter became immersed into a life of clubbing and drugs, the soundtrack of the first half of the album. Personal vulnerability exposed, a hard factor to overcome.
Yet, one questionable measure of the release is the excessive guest appearances. One is good, two is pushing it but three is a crowd. Overcrowded with ‘Nearer’ (Feat The Wyches), ‘Beverly’ (Feat Ed Harcourt) and ‘Find My Own Remorse (Feat Clarence Clarity), the personal depth becomes lost in what seems like a quick promo attempt.
‘Howl’ is where the record hits its peak again however, Laura’s angelic voice and synth influence juxtaposes the distorted 00’s guitar tones. Like ‘Mexican Dress’, the influence of their rock infused style remains, weaved between the synth notes of the tracks. Taking the direction of synth is thanks to Laura’s motorcycle incident, breaking her arm leaving her unable to play guitar for a long while. Even with the differing chorus through the single release, the blend of rock and synth balances, creating a fun, groovy tone for listeners to become immersed into.
What is interesting about Blood Red Shoes, is their ability to incorporate darker, personal lyricism into a contrasting groovy style. Long, drawn out introductions in ‘Elijah’ are melodic, masking the penetrating lyrics ‘you fucked up again’, leaving a new level of depth. Fights aren’t enjoyable when you are a part of them, but in the long-run they can help individuals come back stronger. This is Blood Red Shoes’ strongest release to date and here’s to hoping the band live up to their current strength.