Advantages Great third album if you're into the band.
Disadvantages Not for you if you don't like loud or live music.
|Quality and consistency of tracks|
|Cover / Inlay Design and Content|
|Value for Money|
|How does it compare to the artist's other releases||Outstanding|
|How does it rate alongside the competition||Outstanding|
I have been a fan of Blood Red shoes since they formed in 1994. I first saw them live in 1995. They have just embarked on a European tour for 2012 to showcase their third album ‘In Time to Voices’. Believe me when I tell you that they are one of the hardest working bands in the music industry. Since I’ve known them they have never stopped touring. They very rarely have a break and when they do it is to write new material. Or play at music festivals on a whim.
With the music industry in the mess that it is today, Blood Red Shoes typify what it should be about; that is namely, live music. They transfer their music from CD to live stage in a way that makes some of the top bands look insignificant by comparison. They have never relied on MTV or the so-called UK music charts for exposure. Early on they were well touted by NME but this aside they are all about hard work and like I said, they do work really hard and deserve every speck of credit that is bestowed upon them.They consist of Steven Ansell on drums and vocals and Laura-Mary Carter on guitar and vocals.
I have seen them in the UK and in Holland on numerous occasions and was fortunate enough to meet Laura-Mary and talk to her at length in Rotterdam in 2008 and both she and Steven are so down to earth and grounded and have no heirs and graces about them, which is refreshing in this day and age of pouting and jockeying for the best possible slot on the next reality hogwash TV show.They hail from Brighton. Steven was part of a band called ‘Cat on Form’ and Laura-Mary in a group called ‘Lady Muck’. Things were not really working out for either of them and after a talk and a suggestion to jam together, they realised that they were onto something.
Their first album was quite successful for a debut album and it was a welcome release after touring on the Brighton gig scene for so long. They had already issued some promo and bootleg material before the first album and had gained a reputation as a great live bad with a raw sound and a work ethic that was second to none. After finishing the 2008 tour which took them over most of Europe and beyond, they took a break to write ‘Fire Like This’, the brilliant second album. The break didn’t last long and they were back on tour in March 2009. They played some of the new material on tour, even though some of it was not finished. They promoted the album by way of a free down load of the last track on the album ‘Colours fade’. It was a thank you to their loyal fans and a way of announcing the new album.The third album ‘In Time to Voices’ has been much anticipated by their loyal and new fans alike and I am glad to be able to review it here for you.
Playing Time: 3 Minutes and 44 seconds.The album title track and lead off song. A great mix of Steven and Laura-Mary’s voices, which are indeed in time and create a moody, melodic ambient and relaxing sound, which kicks into a vibrant chorus and a guitar solo from the brilliant Miss Carter. A great way to open the album.
‘Set on fire like a paper plane. Falling down again, back to the start. I built you up just like a pack of cards. Walking separate paths into the dark. In time to voices.’Track Two – Lost Kids
Playing Time: 3 Minutes and 44 seconds.Yes, that’s not a mistake; this track is the same length as the first track. Another smashing tune; dripping with rock guitar and drum bashing. These two people sound so good together it almost seems effortless. Don’t let that fool you though as if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. Another enjoyable track and great live, with a catchy chorus and a likeable tune.
‘How long can we pretend, that we know just who we are? Lost kids with nothing left, throwing rocks into the dark. Outside, a street of fire, broken glass and aching hearts. Petrified as we divide, screaming out a war of words. We're not fighting to be heard, we just wanna watch you burn. Let it all come undone, cut it down, down tonight. And I can't find my way! Already buried anyway! And I can't find my way! Already buried any, buried anyway!’
Playing Time: 3 Minutes and 32 seconds.A raucous belter of a track and knocks you out live. The first single release from the album. Steven’s voice is prominent in the verses with Laura backing him up. The chorus is steeped in passion and is typical Blood Red Shoes and reminiscent of their earlier work.
‘Take a step out into the daylight, I don't wanna fight for it all, and forget it when we fall, you and I are moving in the same way. I don't wanna fight for it all, and forget it when we fall.’
Playing Time: 3 Minutes and 40 seconds.The fourth track on the album is a little slower and a bit more of a ballad but that doesn’t make it any less powerful and it is still delivered with gusto and enthusiasm.
'Feel it creep across your shoulders, its water running through your hands. Out of focus like a Polaroid, spinning round and round the room. Look at the clock, keep watching til it stops. Time is still, nothing here is real. In our past lives, eating up inside. The weight you hold, when you're left behind.’Track Five – The Silence and the Drones
Playing Time: 3 Minutes and 40 seconds.‘Rinsing his hands of gold, the fear that makes us old. Abused into control, the only thing he knows, swallowing it down whole. He does what he is told. The lies that he's been sold. A place that feels alone. The silence and the drones - The only thing he knows.’
Another slow track when it comes to Blood Red Shoes usual upbeat rock tempo. Still, again the lyrics work well and the melodies are good. It is a wonder Steven doesn’t have forearms like a Russian shot putter the way he bashes his drum kit in this song. Great track. Laura-Mary’s voice is sweet and sultry.Track Six – Night Light
Playing Time: 2 Minutes and 56 secondsThe second shortest track on the album and another melancholy ballad. I was not too keen on this one at first but it does grow on you once you know the lyrics and begin to understand the song a little more.
‘Write a note on the back of your hand. Ease your soul, you can understand. Take good pride in what you had. The day is done, the day is gone….Again! I'll be waiting up at midnight, when you feel, it’s the ghost you made of me.’
Playing Time: 1 Minute and 28 seconds.The shortest track on the album.
Boy does this tune burst onto your speakers after three quite downbeat songs. It is more akin to the Arctic Monkeys with Bjork on lead vocals. A fun track, which I am sure that Steven and Laura-Mary enjoyed recording and one that smashes you in the face when played live. A raw energy that explodes onto your speakers.‘What the f**k am I doing here, lying face down on the floor.’
Track Eight – Stop KickingPlaying Time: 3 Minutes and 10 seconds
Steven kicks into this one with the main verse vocals and Laura-Mary joins him on the chorus. Really grew on me this one. I love the latter part of the song where Steven is coming out of the left speaker on chorus and Laura-Mary out of the right speaker, just out of tandem and it really works.‘Stop kicking against anyone, I can't listen, to the sound of myself, so close to the fear, of what I already know. There's nothing left to learn. I just let it go. Fall backwards; it won't be long until it's over. I can cut a new wound on an old scar that I can't cover. I've been here before; it’s where I don't belong….I just let it go.’
Track Nine – Slip Into BluePlaying Time: 4 Minutes and 14 seconds
Another song that Steven is prominent on in the verse with Laura-Mary responsible for the chorus. A nice song that, again, grows on you the more you hear it. Contains acoustic guitar as well as Laura-Mary’s rocktastic weapon of choice.‘Quiet as a child hiding scared in the night. There's a ghost in this cage that you can't escape. (Ooh) Close to the break. (Ooh) Can't keep away. (Ooh)Caught as you wait. Stopped you breathing, treasure I'm keeping, stolen from you, while you're sleeping.’
Track Ten – Down Here In the DarkPlaying Time: 3 Minutes and 22 seconds
Love the chorus to this song and the thrumming back bite of Laura-Mary’s guitar, which transforms into a heavy rock thrum. The drums of Steven are again pounded into oblivion. The chanting of the two voices mixed in is becoming a bit of a trade mark for Blood Red Shoes and it is evident again here. Cool track.‘Shut your eyelids now and bite on your tongue, under the darkness leave the conversation undone. All the sentences don't need to be said, just keep real quiet we'll pretend that we're dead. I'm so tired, can't open my mouth, there's a fire, I can't put it out….I'm so tired, I can't put it out.’
Track Eleven – 7 YearsPlaying Time: 3 Minutes and 48 seconds.
The track that may allude to the seven years that Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter had played together as Blood Red Shoes at the time of writing in 2011. If not alluding to it then at least in celebration of it as it is something to be proud of. A nice track to finish the album. The drums and guitar are prominent and complement each other well. Steven again is lead on vocals with Laura-Mary’s soothing humming backing up the chorus. The track speeds up towards the end and builds into a crescendo of a finale.‘These marks left by you. Ghost who went too soon. Hold me under, like you always do. This scratch made for you, come together soon, just like always, and waste away these days. The cracks in the picture never could turn a blind eye. Nothing so innocent, would occupy your mind. So we'll repeat the process further and further apart, sleep more, feel less, lay down in the dark. These marks left by you. Ghost who went too soon. Hold me under, like you always do. This scratch made for you, come together soon, just like always, and waste away these days.’
The album’s first single ‘Cold’ was released on the 19th March, just before the album.
This quote from Steven Ansell sums up the band:
I have been attending music gigs and concerts for thirty years now and although I’ve slowed down a little, I still like to get to see at least ten bands a year, if not more. I have a few bands that I follow regularly and one band that I would consider as friends now.
With Blood Red Shoes it has been a great development process and I feel like I have watched them grow up. It was a friend who first alerted me to their brilliance and I saw them play at ‘The Little Civic’ in Wolverhampton. I saw them at a few smaller gigs and then at a small venue in Rotterdam, called ‘Rotown’, in front of about sixty fans. That was the night I met Laura-Mary and had a chat and a chance to congratulate her and Steven on their hard work. It is nice to be able to sit and have a chat with a person without screaming lunatics and stalkers clambering for position. Like I said they are just normal people who happen to play in a band. It hasn’t gone to their heads in the slightest and when you go to see them live, the enthusiasm and love they have for what they do is there for all to see.
I hope they get to carry on with what they love doing. It will all come to a stop eventually or at least slow down but I think they will be around for a very long time to come.
I would definitely recommend this album to anyone who hasn’t listened to Blood Red Shoes yet.
It can be purchased relatively cheaply on various sites from the internet, such as Amazon or eBay.
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Release Date: 2012-03-26, Audio CD, V2
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Release Date: 2012-03-26, Audio CD, V2
Availability: Usually dispatched within 24 hours